A KILBURN cop is one of two brave police officers whose attempts to save a drowning woman from the River Derwent at Milford have earned them national awards for heroism.
PC Lee Sadler and PC Paul Coles were awarded Royal Humane Society Testimonials on Parchment and Resuscitation Certificates for their bid to save Benedict Manangazira on Saturday, March 19, this year.
PC Sadler, who was first at the scene, waded into the freezing, chest-deep waters of the Derwent on his own to help the mother of three.
When the police helicoptor landed, he was joined by PC Coles, who took over while PC Sadler fetched a breathing mask. They gave the mum mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for 20 minutes until the fire service and paramedics arrived, but she was pronounced dead at the Royal Derby Hospital later the same day.
Paul, 38, of Kilburn, said: “The lady had got caught on top of the weir and the water was reasonably fast-flowing. The cold took my breath away. PC Sadler had gone in before me, so it was a case of trying to get her to a stable place where we could work to resuscitate her.
“He waded back and brought equipment from the helicopter while I gave her mouth to mouth. We were so hoping that once the fire service came with their inflatable dinghy and the doctor that it would okay.”
The Society’s secretary Dick Wilkinson said: “These two officers did everything they could to give her a chance of survival. They were in danger themselves in the fast flowing river and they richly deserve their awards.”
No date has been fixed for the presentation of the award as yet.
Paul, whose baby daughter Ava Rose was born last month, said he hadbeen too busy being a new father to think much about the award. He paid tribute to his colleagues on board the helicopter.
“The pilot did a great job landing as it was a tight spot between trees and lamp posts.
“I totally forgot about the award with my wife getting more and more pregnant!
“The unit’s quite chuffed about it. The email to notify me even went up on the noticeboard!”
An inquest heard that Mrs Manangazira, of Millers Way, Milford, was worried about financial matters.
The coroner recorded an open verdict at the hearing into her death earlier this year