A selfless student who rushed to the aid of a girl who had fallen on rocks at St Andrews Castle has been praised by coastguards.
Lucy Reis, 20, had been on her way to the Graduation Ball at the University of St Andrews when the alarm was raised.
She threw off her shoes and dashed across the rocks in her ball gown to help rescue the stricken youngster.
Volunteer coastguards who attended the incident, all of whom are members of staff at the university commended Lucy’s quick-thinking, while her actions also drew praise from other students who witnessed the drama.
Lucy, a third year undergraduate art history and psychology student, said it was the last thing she expected as she made her way to the Graduation Week event in the historic Fife town.
She said: “We were on Castle Sands and there were some other people on the beach and a lot of commotion and people getting upset.
“They were saying that there had been an accident and someone had been hurt.
“I took my shoes off and clambered over the rocks. There was a girl lying on the rocks round the corner near a pool of water. She appeared to be unconscious.
“I don’t know first aid but we thought she should be kept still. She was not responding and I checked her head for injuries.
“We were trying to get her to respond which she did after a while. She started to throw up so we turned her onto her side and kept talking to her and asking her name.”
Meanwhile, the St Andrews Coastguard Rescue team and a helicopter were alerted and attended the scene.
Three of the coastguard team who came to the rescue — Dr Cameron Rae, technical manager at the Photonics Innovation Centre, Duncan Brannen, IT systems team leader, and David Stutchfield, estates sustainability manager — are full time members of university staff .
The injured girl was winched into a rescue helicopter and flown to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee as a precautionary measure. She is expected to make a full recovery.
St Andrews student, Andrew Robbins, who helped comfort the injured girl, paid tribute to Lucy.
Andrew, who graduated last week, said: “’I’m very glad that we were able to help the girl and her injuries were not worse.
“But to be clear, Lucy really is owed more of the credit.
“She first suggested that we not move her, she stayed with this girl who we didn’t know and sacrificed time at the graduation ball, and she was extremely calm, helpful, and compassionate through everything.”
Joe Mitchell, senior coastal operations officer at HM Coastguard, praised Lucy and Andrew for their heroic actions, and the volunteer coastguards.
“Lucy and Andrew provided vital care in initially ensuring the casualty’s breathing was not compromised by the water,” he said.
“HM Coastguard are grateful for the time and effort provided by its volunteer rescue teams located around the country who provide this essential rescue capability.
“Importantly HM Coastguard also recognise the support given by the team members’ employers, the University of St Andrews, who allow them, when possible and at the sound of the pagers going off, to leave their jobs at a moment’s notice to provide this invaluable service.
“Our thanks go to the university for their commitment in giving this support to HM Coastguard in keeping the public, including many university students and staff, safe around our coastline.”