Brave@Heart 2015: Members of the public
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presented Brave@Heart Awards to members of the public who have shown outstanding bravery in exceptional or dangerous circumstances.
An AA recovery driver was travelling on the M9 a short distance behind a Transit van which suddenly slowed down to about five miles per hour and was clearly out of control. The recovery driver drove his truck onto the hard shoulder in order to attract the driver’s attention but on drawing level with the Transit van he saw the male driver slumped at the wheel. He then stopped his truck on the hard shoulder, jumped out and chased after the van until he caught up and climbed aboard. He managed to pull the van to the hard shoulder and noticed the driver had suffered a fit which rendered him unconscious at the wheel. Thanks to his quick thinking and decisive actions no harm came to this van driver or any other road users.
A member of the public saw a young woman suddenly grab an elderly lady’s handbag, knocking her to the ground. However, the victim managed to keep a hold of her handbag despite the young woman’s attempts to prise it from her grasp. Without any thought for his own safety this gentleman grabbed the young woman and pulled her from the victim. She began to struggle violently, repeatedly lashing out at him, striking him several times however, he managed to keep a hold of her. The elderly victim stopped a passing motorist who contacted the police who arrived to find that he was still holding onto the struggling attacker who was in possession of a Stanley knife. He performed an outstanding act of bravery. With complete disregard for his own safety, he placed himself in a dangerous situation.
Whilst in Peterhead a member of the public noticed that a man attempted suicide by driving his vehicle into the harbour at speed. The car mounted a wooden beam on the sea wall and then entered the water and disappeared out of sight before returning for a short time. Without concern of his own safety the man jumped into the water in a courageous attempt to release the driver from the vehicle. Tragically this was unsuccessful. Despite his efforts the car filled with water, turned onto its roof and sank.
The man had to be treated for hypothermia caused by his exposure to the low seawater temperatures during his rescue attempt. Although the driver lost his life his family were comforted that a passing stranger was willing to place himself in danger to help their loved one. This bold and selfless act of courage is truly commendable.
Dr John Findlay
Enjoying a family holiday to Argyll this brave member of the public had his car flagged down by a concerned passer-by. A family were on a camping holiday when the father found his 10-year-old son floating and unresponsive in River Orchy. The father managed to pull his son onto the opposite bank of the river. On arrival at the scene, and without any thought for his own safety the doctor swam 30 metres across the river to the opposite bank and joined the still
unresponsive child and his father. The doctor commenced CPR for 55 minutes until arrival of the emergency services and the young boy was taken to hospital by helicopter. Sadly he succumbed to his condition several hours later. This incident occurred in a remote location at a stretch of deep fast running water of which he had no prior knowledge. The doctor reacted instinctively to this challenging and distressing situation in an effort to save a young boy’s life.
Whilst driving home this award winner came across the aftermath of a serious, two vehicle collision. The drivers of both cars sustained serious injuries and both were trapped inside their vehicles. Suddenly one of the vehicles burst into flames. Without a thought for his own safety, this gentleman raced to the scene and managed to free the driver from their burning car. The driver suffered fractures to his legs, arms, spine and jaw. The first officers at the scene admitted that without this man’s quick intervention the injured driver would most probably not have survived. The gentleman displayed courage and strength of character to assist someone in need.
Whilst driving on the Island of Arran this award winner came across a small van on its side, hanging dangerously over an embankment. As there was no mobile phone coverage at the incident site she sent members of her family to call the emergency services. The van was wedged against a tree and had two adults and three dogs still inside. After carefully making her way down the steep embankment and having assessed the medical condition of the people in the van, she assisted the male driver out of the vehicle via the window as the door was jammed. She then assisted the female passenger who was having difficulty releasing her seatbelt and helped her out of the window too. Once the man and woman were safely out of the van she returned to rescue the three dogs from the van.
Her calmness and decision-making skills helped a couple who were in serious distress.
Driving along Queensferry Road in Edinburgh this member of the public noticed that a car suddenly swerved out of control and collided with a stone wall and lamp post. This person immediately went to assist as smoke and steam were coming from under the bonnet. On wrenching open the driver’s door he saw a male driver and two women passengers. He then switched off the ignition and told both passengers to unclip their seat belts and, if able, to get out of the vehicle due to the risk of fire.
However, the driver was unconscious and he was unable to detect a pulse. Checking that his legs were not trapped he then dragged the man from the car and instructed a bystander to phone for an ambulance while he commenced CPR. Two off-duty fire fighters arrived and continued CPR, while this gentleman informed emergency services that a defibrillator was required. There is no doubt that his prompt actions helped to sustain life and contributed to the man’s successful recovery.
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