Cambo ravine rescue earns national award

PC Craig Menzies and his police dog Axel.
PC Craig Menzies and his police dog Axel.

A POLICE dog and his handler have picked up an award at Crufts for their role in the rescue of a woman who fell down a ravine in woods near Kingsbarns.

Constable Craig Menzies and police dog Axel were presented with the 2012 Police Dog Team Operational or Humanitarian Action Award at the world’s largest dog show in Birmingham.

Chief Constable Andrew Barker said: “PC Menzies and Axel have shown the commitment and dedication above the call of duty to win this prestigious award.

“Everyone at Fife Constabulary, and myself, is proud of their achievement and would like to thank them both for delivering such a high standard of service, and congratulate them on this prestigious award.”

In July 2012, PC Menzies and Axel spent several hours searching for a 58-year-old missing woman in a wooded area at Cambo.

She had been reported missing by her father when she failed to return home after walking her dog.

Her umbrella was found near a swollen burn and the search – which also involved the Forth District Coastguard and Fife Fire and Rescue Service – was widened to include coastal paths and the nearby golf course.

After around two hours of searching, and with darkness falling, Axel showed interest in a particular area of the woods, and as they searched through the bushes, they heard a faint voice.

PC Menzies and Axel were joined by firefighters using heat seeking equipment and the terrified woman was spotted on a ledge 60 feet down a ravine, having slipped in wet, muddy conditions as she chased her dog which had run off ahead of her.

She had been stuck for nine hours before she was finally lifted to safety by St Andrews and Leven rope rescue coastguard teams.

Her labrador was lifted to safety a few minutes later. Following the rescue, a coastguard spokesman explained her pet was a former guide dog which had been trained not to bark, so was “no help” in attracting attention to her stranded owner, but she stayed with her until she was rescued.

The woman was unhurt by her fall, but an ambulance took her to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee to be checked over by medical staff.