Trio commended after pulling woman from sinking car

Retained firefighter Kevin Smith is presented with his award by Inspector Sheila McDerment.
Retained firefighter Kevin Smith is presented with his award by Inspector Sheila McDerment.

Three heroic men have been commended for their bravery after pulling a woman from a sinking car at a North East harbour.

Retained firefighter Kevin Smith, 43, and fishermen Rustam Psiancin, 43, and Hisona Gilbert have been awarded honours by the Royal Humane Society after working together to pull the casualty from the water at Macduff in October 2015.

The woman was flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in a critical condition, but made a full recovery.

Lithuanian Mr Psiancin and his colleague, Mr Gilbert, from the Philippines - who were both working in the country at the time on board the Orkney-registered fishing boat, the Keila - entered the water and secured a line around the car as it sank, assisting in securing it to the harbour wall.

Mr Smith, Service Training Officer with the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service at Banff, was off-duty when he entered the water on the day, prising open the car door and pulling the woman to safety.

Mr Smith, who will have been a wholetime firefighter for 20 years in February and a retained firefighter for six years, said: “It’s been called an act of bravery but I find that quite embarrassing because I just did my job. We made a good team on the day and being water rescue trained was definitely a bonus.

"I am just delighted we were able to save the lady’s life."

The Royal Humane Society is a charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in saving lives. Mr Psiancin and Mr Smith were presented with their awards by Area Commander Chief Inspector Elaine Logue and Inspector Sheila McDerment this week.

Inspector Neil Campbell, who applied for the honours in recognition of their efforts on behalf of Police Scotland, said: "These men put their own safety to one side that day and did not give up until the woman was rescued.

"Their quick-thinking actions undoubtedly saved a life and as such are fully deserving of such a prestigious award."