Police officer nominated for bravery award tells of dramatic sea rescue


A police officer has described his dramatic rescue of a vulnerable woman who he managed to bring to safety after jumping into the sea to save her.

Now Pc Nathan Lucy has been nominated for a National Police Bravery Award for the rescue at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Pc Lucy was called to the ferry terminal as the woman, who had left a nearby mental health facility and had made threats to end her life, had jumped into the water.

The officer, who normally works as a dog handler, saw the woman being swept away, stripped off his body armour and utility belt and ran down the promenade to be ahead of her.

After she failed to respond to his calls to swim towards him and began to struggle to keep above the surface, Pc Lucy took off his boots and jumped into the sea with a life-ring.

The water temperature, 5C (41F), immediately took his breath away and he could feel how strong the current was.

He said: "I started to swim towards the female, continuously pleading with her to swim in my direction. I could feel that the current was very strong and I had to use all my available strength to swim against it."

He described how he became tired swimming against the current and how the woman began to kick out at him, hitting him in the chest, before he managed to grab her leg and pull her towards him.

He said: "By this time, I was now starting to struggle myself as the current was very strong and I was weakening with trying to stay afloat as well as physically struggling with the female. I didn't think I was going to make it."

Pc Lucy then pulled the woman closer to him but she grabbed his shirt and pulled him under the water.

The officer started to choke as he was pulled under the water again and again by the woman.

Pc Lucy came to the surface and found the life-ring was next to him.

He grabbed it and took hold of the woman's hair and pulled her backwards to disorientate her so she would stop fighting with him.

At this point Pc Lucy had lost all of his strength and was now himself at risk of drowning.

A member of the public, who had run to the end of the pontoon, had now started to pull on the rope attached to the life-ring, and this assisted him in getting the woman to the pontoon.

As the pair were dragged back to safety, the woman became unconscious.

She was immediately pulled onto the pontoon and given lifesaving medical treatment.

Pc Lucy said: "When the female kicked me and dragged me under the water I could feel myself getting weaker, I was at risk of drowning. I used all my available energy to get control of her and with the assistance of the member of the public pulling on the rope she was brought to safety. I couldn't have managed without his assistance."

Andy Marsh, chief constable of Hampshire Constabulary, who nominated Pc Lucy for his actions on April 12 last year, said: "I am struck by Pc Lucy's bravery and humility. Without doubt his actions saved the life of another, I am immensely proud of him."

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said: "The swift, brave and selfless actions of Pc Nathan Lucy saved this female's life.

"Despite the danger the officer was in himself he persisted and managed to get the woman to safety where she received lifesaving treatment. Pc Lucy is a credit to the constabulary, he is a life saver. "

A federation spokesman said: "The woman was resuscitated and survived the incident. She was later taken to a mental health facility and given the treatment and support she needed. Pc Lucy later received a letter of thanks from the family for saving their daughter's life."