A man who helped rescue a teenage girl from drowning in Fife has called for more safety equipment to be put in place on the coastline.
Graham Mitchell, 41, was visiting his mother in Dalegty Bay when they heard a commotion on the beach.
When Graham discovered it was a young teenage girl who had been swept out from the shore, he quickly ran to her rescue on Tuesday.
He said: “Quite quickly you realised how far out she was and there was only one other person in the water at that point who was trying to swim out towards her.
“There was a lady who was shouting that there was life boats coming and don’t anybody go in the water but my reaction to that was I don’t see a lifeboat coming.”
Graham, who works in hospitality in Linlithgow, said the man who was already in the water attempting to rescue the girl had ended up taking a difficult route and had to turn back around.
‘A hero in my eyes’
Graham said: “He was very much a hero in my eyes.
“He was the one person who made the reaction of what he thought he could do in terms of getting there in the first place.”
Once Graham reached the thirteen-year-old teenager in the water, he said he was taken aback by how young she was.
“I could tell she was young,” he said.
“I think initially I thought she was around 15 or 16, which is usually the age of kids that go in the water down there, but she was a good bit younger than that.
Graham then brought the teenager back to shore with the help of some other individuals who swam out to lend a hand.
He said many people on the beach contributed to the rescue of the teenage girl but most of the panic could have been avoided had there been life-saving equipment along the coastline.
Call for safety equipment
Graham added: “I feel the rescue of this girl is shared evenly amongst all the individuals who came together to help the young girl.
“Whilst running out to the water, I was trying to find some sort of flotation device.
“It’s the only thing I remember thinking to myself on that run to the point was what can I grab here that could help and the short answer was nothing.
“From my point of view, the thing I desperately want to see out of this situation is I would love to see safety devices of some kind applied to the shore line.
‘Somebody might not be as lucky’
“That kind of thing will happen again and next time somebody might not be as lucky.
“Putting a rubber ring or any sort of device, pinned to the wall and along the shoreline, that’ll be the difference.
“Without doubt there would have been no need for any of the panic or danger levels that came into play and will certainly continue to play if that doesn’t happen.”
Legal responsibility for safety at the foreshore is unclear according to the ‘Review of the Legal Responsibility for Beach Safety’.
It outlines there may be a gap in legal responsibility meaning land owners and councils have no legal obligation to act in relation to water safety.
But safety equipment is sometimes provided by councils voluntarily or by independent volunteer groups.
Robbie Blyth head of operation at Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, said: “When considering the installation of public rescue equipment, it requires to be appropriate for the features and conditions of the coastline and water.
“The equipment should be easy to use by members of the public with minimal hesitation and without putting the safety of the rescuer at risk.
“Though Fife Coast & Countryside Trust are not responsible for the public rescue equipment within this location we would like to take this opportunity to thank the rescuer for taking immediate lifesaving action as his selfless act of bravery prevented a tragedy on this occasion.
“We also strongly advise members of the public to take care in and around any water body and to follow the guidance from water safety charity’s such as the RNLI.
“Open water swimming can be very popular at this time of year and he public are advised the public to take sensible precautions preferably swimming in a location with supervision.”
Fife Council were approached for comment.