A student dressed in a gown on her way to a university ball threw off her shoes and scrambled across rocks to help a girl who had fallen at St Andrews Castle in Fife.
Lucy Reis, a third year undergraduate at St Andrews University, was on her way to her graduation ball last Saturday when she realised something had happened.
“We were on Castle Sands and there were some other people on the beach and a lot of commotion and people getting upset,” the 20-year-old said.
“They were saying that there had been an accident and someone had been hurt.
“There was a girl lying on the rocks round the corner near a pool of water. She appeared to be unconscious.”
Reis immediately took off her shoes and clambered over the rocks to help the youngster.
“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,” the art history and psychology student continued.
“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.”
Graduate Andrew Robbins also helped to comfort the injured girl.
“Lucy really is owed more of the credit,” he said.
“She first suggested that we not move her, she stayed with this girl who we didn’t know and sacrificed time at Graduation Ball, and she was extremely calm, helpful and compassionate through everything.”
While the pair were helping the child, the St Andrews Coastguard Rescue team were called.
The girl was then winched into a rescue helicopter and flown to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee as a precautionary measure.
Coastguards have commended Reis and Robbins for their quick-thinking, saying they provided “vital care” by “ensuring the casualty’s breathing was not compromised by the water”.
Joe Mitchell, HM Coastguard’s senior coastal operations officer, 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.”