Bravery awards: Heroes hailed for riding to rescue of dad
TWO schoolboys who saved the life of one of their fathers after he was horrifically injured in a bike crash were today set to receive bravery awards from the police.
Andrew Duncan, 49, sustained a broken neck and spine and suffered two heart attacks and three brain haemorrhages in hospital after going over the handlebars of his bike.
His son, Fraser, and his friend, Stuart Anderson, then 12 and 14, witnessed the devastating crash and were able to keep Mr Duncan conscious while directing paramedics to the scene.
Doctors believe the first-aid skills shown by Stuart, which he learned in the Boys’ Brigade, undoubtedly saved Mr Duncan’s life.
The pair, who are pupils at Broxburn Academy, were set to collect their bravery award at a ceremony due to take place at the police headquarters at Fettes this afternoon.
More than a dozen honourees were expected to attend, including Muhammed Nafees and Anila Ali, who pursued and tackled a robber who struck at a Premier Store in Tranent in East Lothian in June.
Fraser and Stuart were out cycling in their hometown of Broxburn with brother and sister Charlie and Lucy Finlayson, then 14 and 12, at the bing, a rocky area of ground opposite Greendykes Road.
Mr Duncan came to join his son and his friends for a cycle when the accident took place on August 3, 2009.
Stuart, now 17, said: “Fraser’s dad came down a hill and his bike became stuck in a rut and he was flung over the handlebars. He went head first onto rocky ground and broke a number of bones. Then the bike came down with some force and the handlebars punctured his lung.
“I was first to react but I didn’t know what level of damage he had sustained. I put him in the recovery position then phoned for an ambulance.
“I got Charlie and Lucy to run to different houses on the road to get help.
“The paramedic on the phone was giving me instructions on what to do and I was trying to guide them to where we were. Me and Fraser kept talking to his dad, trying to keep him conscious because he was drifting in and out. There was a lot of blood and you could see he was critically injured.”
Paramedics were unable to get an ambulance to the accident site and a helicopter had to be brought in to airlift Mr Duncan to hospital.
Stuart added: “It took about 15 minutes from the time of the accident for the helicopter to arrive.
“Fraser was very upset because of what had happened to his dad so I just tried to keep him calm.
“After the airlift, one of the paramedics came up to me and said he believed I had saved Mr Duncan’s life. I was in the Boys’ Brigade at the time and we had been doing first-aid training. I was just glad I was able to help.”
Fraser, now 15, said: “When the accident happened none of us had a phone. We looked through my dad’s pocket and luckily my mum had reminded him to take his mobile with him. Stuart was trying to keep me calm. I was extremely upset because I could see my dad was critically ill. We kept talking to my dad and Stuart was giving him first aid.
“My dad suffered two heart attacks after he got to the hospital. He had a broken neck, back and suffered three brain haemorrhages. His ear was also torn off and had to be re-attached with surgery. Dad had to have brain surgery and he was in the hospital for six months. Fortunately he is now making a full recovery and he’s back at work.
“Stuart was learning first-aid that week at the Boys’ Brigade and he knew not to move my dad. He saved my dad’s life.”
Mr Duncan, who works as a senior project manager for a surveyor firm, will be attending the awards ceremony with wife Linda, 47.
Chief Constable David Strang paid tribute to the teenagers and today’s other recipients of bravery awards. He said: “The acts of bravery and compassion that we hear about at the meritorious awards are always very humbling. I am grateful for the opportunity to personally thank people for their courage and willingness to intervene.
“The awards typically demonstrate occasions where people have gone above and beyond what is expected of them, and have chosen to become involved in often dangerous, sometimes life threatening, situations.
“It has always been, and will always be, the duty of police officers to keep people safe and help vulnerable people at a time when they need it most, but in these circumstances it is clear that the officers and members of the public have gone that step further in contributing to the safety and security of our communities.
“I hope all the recipients are rightly proud of what they did for the benefit of others and I am delighted we can recognise them in this manner.”
Drive dragged OAP from blaze
A DELIVERY driver who rushed into a burning house to drag a pensioner to safety is also set to be honoured today for his courage.
Andrew Spouse, of Granton, crawled along the floor of the smoke-filled home before finding the man, who was in his 70s, lying helpless on a bedroom floor. The 28-year-old was working as a driver for a plumbing supplies firm when he went with a colleague to Wallyford in East Lothian to make a delivery at around 8am in December 2010.
He said: “We were at the
address when I noticed smoke coming from the house next door. My colleague helped me knock the door in and all this smoke poured out. I wrapped a fleece around my face and tried to go inside. The smoke was really thick.
“I was shouting to see if anyone was inside. Then I heard a man shouting for help. I had to crawl along the ground to an upstairs bedroom and then I grabbed what turned out to be an arm. I managed to drag the man downstairs to the back window for air.”
The blaze was believed to have started after the man fell asleep and dropped a cigarette onto his mattress.
Dash saved suicide man
A POLICE sergeant was set to receive a bravery award for his part in rescuing a suicidal man who was dangling from the seventh floor of a block of flats.
Now retired after 30 years service with Lothian and Borders Police, Christopher Kowalski rushed up six flights to grab hold of the man’s flailing legs. Above him, two officers were clutching the would-be jumper by his wrists as he hung off a balcony at the flats in Drylaw in January last year.
Mr Kowalski, 50, said: “A call came in about a man with mental health issues threatening to jump off the seventh floor. There were two officers on the balcony talking to the guy who had clambered over the railings. He was standing on the balcony with his body facing outwards when unfortunately he slipped.
“The officers managed to grab him by the wrists to stop him falling and he was left hanging seven floors up on his stomach. Myself and some other officers ran up six flights and took hold of the rest of him.”
Mr Kowalski retired from the force in June. The Portobello resident is now studying for an HNC in social studies and hopes to study for a degree in psychology and sociology.
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