HM Coast Guard search and rescue crew member recognized for outstanding bravery

Bristow press release | June 23, 2021

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 54 seconds.

A prestigious Royal Humane Society award has been presented to Mark Scotland, paramedic with HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Lydd, following his heroic actions to save a 12-year-old girl off the coast of Kent’s last year.

Coast Guard Search and Rescue Lydd Helicopter Winch Paramedic HM Mark Scotland received the testimony on parchment for bravery. Photo by Bristow

Scotland has been awarded the Testimonial on Parchment for Bravery, which recognizes a person who has put themselves in danger to save, or attempt to save, someone else.

During a routine training flight on July 28, 2020, Lydd’s HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter was redirected to Dymchurch Beach in Kent when three people were reported in distress at sea.

Arriving at the scene just two minutes after the initial call, the crew saw a 12-year-old girl struggling to keep her head above water.

Finding the young girl in danger of fainting as she sank beneath the waves, Scotland immersed herself completely in the water, allowing her to fully lift her upper body out of the water, where she was able to breathe.

After successfully recovering on the plane, Scotland administered first aid to the girl as she was flown to Ashford Hospital for treatment, where she made a full recovery.

Scotland said: “I am honored to receive the testimony of the Royal Humane Society on the parchment. This particular rescue presented a number of challenges, with the girl being very panicked and struggling to stay afloat in the water. I knew it was essential to get her out of harm’s way as soon as possible and I am so happy that we were able to win her safely to the plane for further treatment, and that she was finally completely restored.

Lydd Chief Pilot Captain Neil Robertson said: “This award could not be better deserved and I am exceptionally proud of the job Mark did in Dymchurch that day.

“It was a perilous situation, and Mark’s courageous and selfless act, beyond what would be expected of a search and rescue paramedic, undoubtedly saved his life. His composure throughout the rescue, during which he was submerged for up to 10 seconds, is a testament to all that our crew will do to rescue those in danger at sea or inland.

“During the summer months many people flock to our beautiful UK beaches, but it is essential to be aware of the many dangers they present. Inflatables that can easily be blown out to sea and back currents that can catch even the most experienced swimmers are just a few of the cases our crew are called upon to help out.

The HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter Facility in Lydd is one of 10 strategically located bases across the country, close to areas with high search and rescue incident rates. The other UK bases are in Sumburgh, Stornoway, Inverness, Prestwick, Caernarfon, St. Athan, Humberside, Lee-on-Solent and Newquay. In addition to responding to approximately 16 incidents per month, the Lydd crew also conducts regular training exercises, to ensure they are prepared for any eventuality.

The HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter Service is operated by Bristow Helicopters on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

This press release was prepared and distributed by Bristow Helicopters.