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Bravery award for brothers' courageous sea rescue in Newquay

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 18, 2012

Martin and David Marney on the Newquay beach where they saw Amanda Doherty in trouble

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Two brothers who leapt into rough seas to rescue a woman from drowning will today receive awards for their bravery and selflessness.

Martin and David Marney spotted someone in difficulties while out walking between Little Fistral and Towan Head at Newquay on October 16.

Amanda Doherty had waded out into 6ft waves in an attempt to save a dog, but soon got into difficulties and was swept out to sea.

The brothers, who are both experienced swimmers, immediately stripped to their underwear and swam through a heavy swell to reach her.

Martin and David, who run Blue Wings surf school in Newquay and hold lifeguard qualifications, were enjoying a walk across the sands with their young children when David's wife heard Amanda's screams.

Martin said: "She'd spotted someone in the water so we stripped off to our underwear and grabbed a life-belt."

By the time they reached Amanda, she was 60 metres from shore.

"The most frightening part for me was that as we were swimming out she was being dragged further out to sea and her head kept going under," he said. "When I first saw her I thought she was dead. She was floating motionlessly on her back. But when we reached her we realised she was semi-conscious, though she couldn't talk and had no awareness of what was going on. We just tried to keep her conscious and wait for assistance."

After being kept afloat by the brothers for 25 minutes, Amanda was picked up by Newquay lifeboat crew and airlifted to hospital. Martin said it was only later that he and David realised how serious the situation had been.

"While it's all going on, the adrenaline is pumping – it's only later the shock kicks in and you really think about it," he said.

Gareth Horner, Newquay RNLI's volunteer lifeboat operations manager, said: "The action of the two brothers deserves the fullest praise. Their swift response, coupled with their training, ensured they were able to reach the woman quickly and safely and provide her with vital support until the lifeboat crew arrived at the scene."

Coastguard Phil Matthias added that if Martin and David had not been on hand to risk their own lives to save Amanda, "she would have more than likely lost her life".

Amanda, 31, who was reunited with David and Martin after being released from hospital, said she owed her life to them. The dog – a collie named Ollie – made it safely back to shore.

Today the brothers will be at Lusty Glaze beach to be presented with a certificate of commendation by the Royal Life Saving Society.

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