Police officers honoured for saving girl in submerged car

The group battled freezing conditions to reach Amy Duguid and her sister Kirsten.

Clockwise from top left: Kirsteen McArthur, Carolyn Wright, Andy Sawers, David Ritchie and Calum McDougall.

Police officers who battled to save two young sisters after their family car crashed into a river have been recognised for their bravery.

Kirsten Duguid, 14, died in the crash in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, on December 2 last year.

She and her sister Amy, 12, were trapped after an Audi A3 being driven by their father left the road and overturned, landing in the water.

The six officers who helped free Amy from the car in freezing conditions have now been honoured at the Scottish Police Federation's annual awards.

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They won the overall bravery award at the ceremony in Edinburgh on Thursday, with a total of 23 officers being recognised for acts of courage.

Sergeant Andy Sawers along with constables Kirsteen McArthur, Carolyn Wright, Calum McDougall, David Ritchie and John Grant were all called to the scene in Mains of Arnage.

The girls' father Gary managed to free himself but both sisters were still trapped inside.

Police: 'Everyone worked hard to save those girls.'

Ms Wright went underwater and was able to prise the car door open with a crowbar with the help of Mr McDougall.

They freed Amy and assisted her up onto the embankment, where she was helped by Ms McArthur.

Four of the officers stayed in the water to rescue Kirsten, who had become trapped inside the car by her seatbelt.

They managed to free her but the 14-year-old was not conscious.

Despite receiving CPR from Mr McDougall and Mr Grant, she died in hospital hours later.

'Their efforts putting others before themselves is highly commendable and resulted in saving our daughter's life.'
Gary and Lianne Duguid

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Amy and Kirsten's parents, Gary and Lianne, have now released a statement praising the officers involved.

They said: "We would like to thank all of the police involved for the bravery shown. Their efforts putting others before themselves is highly commendable and resulted in saving our daughter's life.

"Special thanks should also go to PC Kevin Ross who provided compassionate support to us throughout."

Mr Sawers said: "The whole team really pulled together so well, we just got things done that needed to happen.

"It was dark, confusing and freezing but everyone worked hard to save those girls."

'These heroic attempts... reinforce everything that we have come to expect from officers from Police Scotland.'
Justice secretary Michael Matheson

Ms Wright said: "The fact that we were able to help one person makes you feel better about the whole incident.

"I still think about her regularly and wonder how she's doing now, because it must have been way more horrific for her than it was for any of us."

Justice secretary Michael Matheson, who presented the award, also praised the officers.

He said: "These heroic attempts, in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, to try to save the lives of two young girls, reinforce everything that we have come to expect from officers from Police Scotland.

"I commend their bravery and thank each of them for going above and beyond the call of duty to protect the public.

"Our sincere sympathies remain with the family who lost a loved one in such tragic circumstances."

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