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Hero saves woman from mud death

PUBLISHED: 17:17 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:57 23 August 2010

A COASTGUARD is expected to receive a police bravery award for risking his life to save a woman from drowning in mud after falling from a motorway bridge. Jon Cole, 51, has been praised by Kent Police for his efforts in saving the 26-year-old woman from

A COASTGUARD is expected to receive a police bravery award for risking his life to save a woman from drowning in mud after falling from a motorway bridge.

Jon Cole, 51, has been praised by Kent Police for his efforts in saving the 26-year-old woman from Northfleet who fell from the M2 bridge over the River Medway on August 3.

An officer from Kent Police, Andre Smuts, has also been commended by Acting Superintendent Mick Judge for his role in the rescue.

Mr Cole, who works at Medway Bridge Marina, rushed to the scene of the incident with two other coastguard, his son John Lovage and colleague Clive Tillotson.

He said: "We were there within five minutes. We could see a body lying on the waters edge, on the mud. It was a very low tide. We maneuvered as close as we could to the body. There was absolutely no movement whatsoever. I put a rope tie around me and I went into the mud.

"It's like quicksand in parts, its sucks you in and is very hard to get out of. At some points your feet might sink in but in other parts you could sink right down to your waste."

Mr Cole got to the woman, who was breathing, but unconscious. PC Smuts arrived on the shore and crawled out through the mud to where the woman was lying to help.

He added: "She was drifting in and out of consciousness so I kept talking to her, kept her alert. She was making the occasional grunt and groan. There was a rising tide, so we didn't have long."

The coastguard mud rescue team arrived within half-an-hour and lay boards on the mud for the paramedics to reach the woman.

She was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital and is currently in a stable condition. Mr Cole added: "I have heard about the possible award but we don't do it for that. We are a team, we are all services and that's our job, that is what we are paid to do."

Acting Superintendent Judge said: "The actions of these individuals were very courageous.

"We are sure that without their quick thinking and brave conduct this woman would have died. I would like to thank them for their work in dealing with what was a very difficult situation.

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