Builder tells of heroic rescue

By Annie DavidsonA BUILDER has told how he helped rescue a 10-year-old girl who came close to drowning in the sea off the Essex coast.Phillip Ellison, 29, was alerted by a woman screaming for help as he played with his stepdaughter on the beach in Clacton.

By Annie Davidson

A BUILDER has told how he helped rescue a 10-year-old girl who came close to drowning in the sea off the Essex coast.

Phillip Ellison, 29, was alerted by a woman screaming for help as he played with his stepdaughter on the beach in Clacton.

He spotted a young girl and her grandmother floating face down in the sea as their distraught relative looked on from a nearby groyne.


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Mr Ellison, 29, of Eldred Avenue, Colchester, reached 10-year-old Nur Kaya just as lifeguard Ryan Carvey also swam out from the beach to her aid.

Mr Ellison turned Nur over and swam with her to the groyne, where a second lifeguard, Jamie Sacre, helped to bring her out of the water.

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"It was quite a way out. I could not even touch the sea bottom myself. The young girl was frothing at the mouth. I put her on my shoulder and swam backwards with her," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Carvey, 20, had rescued Nur's grandmother, Safiye Eroglu, 45, who had leapt in to help her granddaughter after she got into difficulties.

Mr Carvey said he had feared Mrs Eroglu was dead after he had turned her over and her eyes had rolled back in her head.

"She was blue in the face and motionless. I thought she wasn't breathing," he added.

"I started to swim about 15 metres into my own depth so I could give her survival breaths, but as I did a bit of colour appeared around her mouth and I realised her heart was still beating."

Mr Carvey, who went to Clacton County High School and is now at Leicester University, brought Mrs Eroglu onto the beach, where she was given first aid and then flown unconscious to hospital by air ambulance.

Nur was cared for by Mr Sacre, 20, and Mr Ellison until lifeboat crews arrived and took over.

Mr Ellison, who was at the beach with his fiancée, Dawn Alsopp, 40, and her four children, later visited Nur and Mrs Eroglu at Colchester General Hospital.

Mrs Eroglu was initially in intensive care, but later recovered enough to be transferred to a general ward.

Nur was admitted to the children's ward, but was not as seriously ill as her grandmother.

Mr Ellison said the experience had been a "big shock", but added Nur had later thanked him for saving her.

Mr Carvey said: "He did a superb job and if he hadn't been there, I would have been holding two people and would not have been able to move them until someone else got there.

"It was a really good team effort from everyone. It was something I will never forget. Another 30 seconds and it could have been very different."

Nur and her grandmother pair had travelled to the Clacton from London with 60 women and children from a community centre for a day at the seaside.

The dramatic rescue happened at about 12.30pm on Sunday in front of hundreds of shocked residents and holidaymakers.

Speaking through a relative who translated for her, Mrs Eroglu told the East Anglian Daily Times on Monday: "Thank you to my rescuers because they saved me and my granddaughter.

"I am very grateful for what they did. We were stuck in the water together and crying as we held hands, but we were going under the water. I can't remember all of it, but it was scary and there were lots of tears."

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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