• Melissa Hood

Credit where credit is due

It was the 1st of September, and after a late and very warm summer, the weather on this day was surprisingly mild. A small group had gathered at Beacon Cove, just behind Living Coasts, to enjoy this end of summer Sunday afternoon. Although the weather was mild, the sea was to become deceivingly choppy.

On these kinds of late summer afternoons, it would be nothing unusual for a dog to be happily fetching a ball and running in and out of the sea with its owners. People on the beach observing, with no immediate danger spotted, everyone blissfully unaware of the events which were about to take place...…..

On this particular afternoon, a Staffordshire Bull Terroir who had swum a little too far out to sea, was being dragged by the current and struggling to get back to shore. As soon as the owner and his friend realised the dog was tiring, the friend rushed into the water to help bring the dog to safety. However, after 20 minutes passed and had not managed to save him, the owner then ran into the water and a further 20 minutes or more passed. At this point all three of them were now in the sea and it was becoming apparent to onlookers on the beach that the first man into the sea was struggling and calling for help.

People at the beach and on the cliffs above started dialling for help, but no one was willing to enter the sea and swim out to the first man, now clearly in danger, who had been in the water for up to an hour. Apart from one person that is, our Makeup artist Anika, who was on the beach and looked around, asking “is anyone going to help him?” No one did, so she threw her shoes off and ran into the sea, fully clothed.

Upon retelling this story Anika said she must have been in the water for around 15 minutes before she got to him and by the time, she did only his hand could be seen. She reached down and pulled his head out of the water. His face and lips blue.

Anika placed his head onto her shoulder and spoke to him. Trying to calm him and make sure he was breathing; they spent a few moments floating to let him catch his breath before swimming back to the beach. (In Anika’s own words… “During that half an hour or so, swimming back with him, we could hear nothing but the sounds of the sea, it was just the two of us and I knew if I didn’t get him back, he would die. The pressure felt immense and when I think about it now I cannot believe what happened.”

When Anika got close to the shore, she held him up against some rocks as his body was completely limp. She could hear voices calling down from the cliffs asking if they were ok and were told the police were on their way. The coast guard arrived as they got to the shore and the police and ambulance were waiting on the beach.

Anika noticed the man with the dog both back on the beach. A relief to see that they had both made it out of the water.

Once they were back at the beach, the ambulance crew took over from Anika and she was left soaking wet through from head to toe. Although no one from the ambulance crew came to ask if she was ok, the man she saved, who after being assessed by them and refusing there advice to take him to hospital, went straight over to check on her, giving her his coat to keep warm and all of the cash he had on him, as his way of saying thank you for what she had done, telling her to, “go for a drink”.

Anika left the beach and went home, overwhelmed by the whole experience. Unable to bring herself to even speak for a several hours to follow, due to the bodies way of dealing with the shock of what had happened.

Two days later Devon Live reported an account of the events which had taken place on that day. However, there was no mention of the lady who had saved the man from drowning, and that is the reason for writing this story. I feel very strongly that Anika should gain some recognition for her heroic actions. She was nothing more than a public bystander, who thankfully acted on her instincts and saved a man’s life.

The man she saved was Rob Phillips, a chef at The Orange Tree restaurant Torquay. Who is, no doubt, eternally grateful for Anika’s actions that day.

Rob sent Anika a message thanking her privately for saving him. As did his boss Vittorio Melis, owner at The Orange Tree and here at Kudos we are immensely proud of our Makeup Artist, Anika Arrowsuch and want you all to know it was she that swam into the sea that day, with no concern for her own safety to rescue a man who was drowning. Those people, who put others before themselves are few and far between and we are lucky to have her as a part of our team.

We applaud you Anika!!

By M C Hood

By M C Hood

Beacon Cove Torquay

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