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Construction workers dive into sea to help girl in Sheerness

By John Nurden

Two construction workers waded into the sea at Sheerness yesterday to save a teenage girl.

She had walked into the water and refused pleas to return to the shore.

Workers Gary Clarke, 57, and Bogdan Vehes, 32, stripped off their hi-vis gear and, wearing jeans and T-shirts, ran into the waves to bring her back.

Mackley heroes Gary Clarke, left, and Bogdan Vehes (8140904)
Mackley heroes Gary Clarke, left, and Bogdan Vehes (8140904)

Mr Vehes, a site engineer for JK Mackley, said: "I noticed a couple in the water. It was obvious something was wrong.

"She was crying and her boyfriend was trying to stop her going deeper into the water.

"We called the police and then decided to help her out of the water ourselves.

"The tide was coming in and the water was very cold."

Mr Clarke, the company's site manager, said: "We noticed her boyfriend wasn't having any luck getting her back in.

"Bogdan said he was going in to get her and took his hi-vis jacket off so I did the same and we both waded into the water.

Amusements at Neptune's Terrace, Sheerness, near where the girl was rescued (8140902)
Amusements at Neptune's Terrace, Sheerness, near where the girl was rescued (8140902)

"She was about 400 yards out and the water was up to her waist when we reached her. But she put up quite a struggle."

The men brought the girl back to the shore where they left her with friends while waiting for police and ambulance.

Eye-witness Chris Reed said: "The men were heroes and very brave.

"They just went in without any thought. They saved her. Sometimes they had to carry her because she was struggling."

Fellow neighbour Amanda Green: "The girl was very upset. She was given a blanket and looked after by friends when she reached the beach."

A police spokesman said: "We were called following reports of a person seen in the water. Officers attended along with SECAmb. The female was given to the care of the ambulance crew."

A spokesman for SECAmb said: "We were called following reports of someone in the sea. We attended but did not take the patient to hospital."

* The Samaritans offer a 24-hour help line for anyone feeling distressed. Call 116 123 free.

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