Recognition for man who helped pull girl from choppy water

David Murdie with his wife Gail
David Murdie with his wife Gail
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A CONSTRUCTION worker who helped pull an unconscious girl from the sea after she was swept away is set to receive a bravery award from police.

David Murdie came to the rescue of 14-year-old Katie MacLean after a giant wave knocked her into the water at Eyemouth harbour.

The 37-year-old joined a human chain of passers-by after hearing screams for help while on a day-out with his wife and three sons.

Katie was left in critical condition in hospital after being dragged into the sea while trying to save her 13-year-old friend, Tempany Sylvester, who had already been carried away by 20ft waves.

It emerged yesterday that the teenager had opened her eyes and taken unaided breaths after more than a week in a coma.

Mr Murdie, of Sherwood Crescent, Bonnyrigg, told how the drama unfolded on June 4.

Members of the public had hauled Tempany to safety, but Katie was knocked unconscious as the waves repeatedly slammed her against the harbour wall. It is believed she lay in the water for up to 20 minutes.

Mr Murdie said he went to help after hearing a woman screaming. He added: “I rushed over to the wall and saw Katie in the water. There were already a couple of guys there so we tried to make a human chain. One of them jumped in with a strap around him but he couldn’t reach her.

“Another guy threw a strap to her but she was struggling to fight against the waves.

“The waves were crashing in, hitting the wall and bouncing off. It was dangerous and deeply upsetting.”

Katie, from Eyemouth, Berwickshire, was eventually pulled out of the water when two police officers dived in and managed to hold her up to Mr Murdie and the other rescuers. But Mr Murdie and his wife, Gail, 41, were angry that there were no flotation rings at the sea front. Mrs Murdie said: “People were shouting for rings. It seemed like ages before someone appeared with one. If a ring had been thrown when she still had the strength to swim the outcome would have been much more positive.”

A police spokesman confirmed that Mr Murdie would now be considered for a meritorious award.

Katie has been critically ill but stable on a life support machine since the incident.

A Facebook dedication page set up by school friend Leevi Brown has a message by Katie’s father. It reads: “Spoke to doc, she’s taking some breaths of her own, kidneys working bit better, pupils reacting fine. It’s what they expect as minimum but still good to hear. Still critical but she’s fighting.”

Mr Murdie added: “It’s good news if she’s coming out of the coma and is breathing for herself.

“I have seen what the girl went through and she’s obviously getting the best treatment possible but to see that she’s still fighting and trying to make a recovery is great.”

“I would hate to put myself in her parents’ position. They came down half-way through the rescue and to see it couldn’t have been a nice thing at all.”