Suffolk - saved suicidal woman from freezing sea

PC Stephen Vaughan

PC Stephen Vaughan

A Suffolk PC has been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award after rescuing a suicidal woman from the freezing sea.

It was New Year’s Eve and dog handler PC Stephen Vaughan was on a late shift. He responded to a call that a highly vulnerable female had left hospital against medical advice. It was thought that she had driven to the seafront, where it was feared she intended to cause herself harm.

While the search was well underway, the ambulance service shared an update that the woman had taken pills and vodka. This, coupled with the fact she had told hospital staff that she intended to take her own life, meant she had to be found fast.

The weather conditions were very poor, preventing the NPAS helicopter from helping. The coastguard was aware but until it was known if the woman was in the sea, they were unable to attend. PC Vaughan decided to search on foot and not long after he saw a body floating in the water. Without any consideration for his own safety, PC Vaughan entered the freezing cold December North Sea. He made his way through the breaking waves and retrieved the body, which was the missing woman.

PC Vaughan dragged her back onto the beach and started emergency CPR, although he was wet and freezing cold himself. He found a pulse and knowing that help was on the way, he placed her in the recovery position and monitored her vital signs until a trauma kit arrived on scene. He continued to do this along with colleagues until an ambulance arrived and took over her care.

The woman was taken to hospital and thanks to PC Vaughan’s actions, after treatment was able to make a full recovery. There is no doubt that if she had been in the cold North Sea for much longer she could have died in the sea, alone.