St Andrews student late to ball after rescuing girl

Lucy Reis, 20, who has been praised by coastguards after she ran to help a girl who had fallen from rocks. Picture: St Andrews
Lucy Reis, 20, who has been praised by coastguards after she ran to help a girl who had fallen from rocks. Picture: St Andrews
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A student in a ball gown who ran to help a girl who had fallen from rocks has been praised by coastguards.

Lucy Reis, 20, was on her way to her graduation ball at the University of St Andrews, Fife, when she heard someone had been hurt on Castle Sands.

She took off her shoes and climbed over rocks, dressed in her ball gown, to help the youngster.

Meanwhile, the St Andrews coastguard rescue team and a helicopter were alerted and the girl was flown to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee as a precaution.

Ms Reis, a third-year undergraduate art history and psychology student, 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.”

Another St Andrews student, Andrew Robbins, helped Ms Reis comfort the injured girl during the incident on 24 June.

He 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.”

Three of the coastguard team who came to the rescue are also full-time members of university staff – Dr Cameron Rae, technical manager at the photonics innovation centre, Duncan Brannen, IT systems team leader, and David Stutchfield, sustainability manager, estates.

The injured girl was winched into the rescue helicopter and flown to hospital as a precautionary measure.

Joe Mitchell, senior coastal operations officer, HM Coastguard, praised the ­students and the volunteer coastguards.

He said: “Lucy and Andrew provided vital care in initially ensuring the casualty’s breathing was not compromised by the water.

“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.”