Policeman hailed a hero for his part in saving three girls from river tragedy in Blyth

A policeman has been hailed a hero for his part in the rescue of three girls from the River Blyth.
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PC Martyn Burnikell was on duty in the town on June 10 when he was told by a member of the public that the trio were stuck in water in the estuary.

After spotting them over 50 metres from the bank struggling in the muddy, neck-deep water, he and colleagues from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service were able to assist in pulling the girls back to safety – as the Blyth and Newbiggin Coastguard Team used their water rescue skills and tow lines to rescue the teenagers.

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With all three girls – aged 14 and 15 - safely on land, they were wrapped up in warm blankets and transported to hospital to be checked over with the assistance of North East Ambulance Service.

Inspector Joe Rutherford and PC Martyn Burnikell.Inspector Joe Rutherford and PC Martyn Burnikell.
Inspector Joe Rutherford and PC Martyn Burnikell.

Inspector Joe Rutherford, after presenting PC Burnikell with a Commander’s Compliment, said: “We are incredibly thankful for PC Burnikell’s actions as without his intervention the situation could have ended very differently.

“PC Burnikell has a strong passion and dedication for his job and a drive to look after those living the community. He is always quick-thinking, happy to help and above all modest about the lengths he goes to in order to help, and those are some of the most desirable qualities an officer can have.

“He is a credit to not only his team but the wider force and I’m sure the public will share my thanks and gratitude for what he has done.”

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PC Burnikell, said: “It means a lot to me to have my actions recognised by the Force, but I think I speak on behalf of my fellow officers when I say our actions are never motivated by praise or higher recognition.

“I joined Northumbria Police because I want to help people and my instincts just kicked in – I’m so glad I was in the right place at the right time, otherwise who knows what could have happened.

“I want to thank all the agencies involved for how we responded as a collective to this situation. I’m proud to have been a part of this incident, and I hope the public are reassured to know that we are all here to help when you need us most.”

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