Drowning man rescued at Cromer by student paramedic attending beach party

Student paramedic Lucy Hammond near the site on Cromer beach where she pulled a drowning man from th

Student paramedic Lucy Hammond near the site on Cromer beach where she pulled a drowning man from the sea. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

A student paramedic left a beach party in Cromer to drag a drowning swimmer from the sea and give him emergency resuscitation, it has emerged.

Emergency teams, including the East Anglian Air Ambulance, at the scene of the drama on Cromer beach

Emergency teams, including the East Anglian Air Ambulance, at the scene of the drama on Cromer beach. Picture: DAVE 'HUBBA' ROBERTS - Credit: Archant

And, within minutes of beginning cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the 43-year-old, Lucy Hammond was joined by off-duty paramedic Dave Killingback and his girlfriend Emily Harper, a nursing sister in the A&E department of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Luckily, the couple had been strolling on the beach after a fish and chip supper on the prom.

In an impressive display of teamwork, the three, plus other ambulance paramedics who were swiftly on the scene together with Cromer's lifeboat crew, kept up intensive lifesaving measures and managed to re-start the victim's heart.

The man, believed to be local, was flown to the N&N by the East Anglian Air Ambulance in a critical condition. There has since been no update on his health.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance at the scene of the drama on Cromer beach. Picture: DAVE 'HUBBA' ROBE

The East Anglian Air Ambulance at the scene of the drama on Cromer beach. Picture: DAVE 'HUBBA' ROBERTS - Credit: Archant

Ms Hammond, 27, who is studying at UEA, was at her sister Leah's birthday barbecue on the sands below the Rocket House Café when she heard someone on the beach ask whether anyone knew first aid and then point at someone floating in the water face down.

Without hesitation Ms Hammond, who was fully clothed, ran into the sea up to her shoulder level and grabbed the man, kicking off her flip-flops under water.

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She dragged him to the shore where others helped pull him on to the beach: 'My adrenalin was going,' she recalled. 'I assessed him, as I've been trained to do, and confirmed that he was in cardiac arrest so I started doing chest compressions.'

Her sister Leah, 31, ran to get a face shield, used for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, from Lucy's purse.

Emergency teams, including the East Anglian Air Ambulance, at the scene of the drama on Cromer beach

Emergency teams, including the East Anglian Air Ambulance, at the scene of the drama on Cromer beach. Picture: DAVE 'HUBBA' ROBERTS - Credit: Archant

Meanwhile Mr Killingback, 31 and Ms Harper, 28, who were walking nearby, saw what Ms Hammond was doing.

'We ran across and as soon as we got to the casualty I realised I knew Lucy,' he said. 'I think she was very relieved to see us!

'We started alternating on the CPR with Lucy doing breaths. Within about three minutes the first ambulance response car arrived.'

Cromer lifeboat crew also raced to the scene with their own first aid equipment.

The paramedics started advanced life support, inserting a tube directly into the man's lungs and another into his neck, and signs of life began to return after about 20 minutes, according to Mr Killingback, who is based with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust at Longwater, near Norwich, and has been a paramedic for 11 years.

Meanwhile Cromer and Sheringham coastguards were screening the scene from public view and clearing the beach so that the air ambulance could land safely.

Its crew anaesthetised the man before flying him to hospital.

Ms Hammond, who heard yesterday that she had passed her second year paramedic exams, said the drama had boosted her confidence.

'When you're out on the job you know what you are walking into but this was completely unexpected so there was a slight undertone of panic, but you ignore it and your training kicks in. Now I know I can cope in that situation,' she said.

Last year Mr Killingback was also on hand to save a life when he and student paramedic Nick Ball unwrapped the umbilical cord which had become wrapped around newborn Alana Heelas's neck, and gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation during a dramatic home delivery in Poringland, near Norwich.

Jerry Woodley, station officer for Sheringham Coastguard, praised the actions of the three off-duty medics.

'What they did was absolutely fantastic,' said Mr Woodley. 'I hope the man is OK. Everyone did their best for him.'

Do you know the swimmer? Please contact alex.hurrell@archant.co.uk

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