A holidaymaker has been hailed a hero after saving the life of an elderly British lady who got into difficulty when swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.
Lee-Bernadette Walford, 53, was sunbathing on a Turkish beach when she heard a German man shouting “medic, medic” from the shoreline.
The former nurse got up to see a body being pulled out of the ocean and immediately sprang into action. Incredibly, she managed to revive the woman – a 79-year-old Brit called Sonya Grist, by administering life-saving CPR.
Lee-Bernadette told Stoke-on-Trent Live that Sonya “was basically blue” when she was taken out of the sea.
“Her lips were blue, she wasn’t breathing, and her eyes were open and cloudy,” she recalled. “I checked her airways, there was nothing there, no pulse.”
She added: “We don’t know how long she had been completely submerged. I was a bit freaked out. Nobody had seen her drown. Nobody was with her at the time. I didn’t know how long she had been there.”
The qualified lifeguard and diver decided to do CPR on Sonya as she shouted for a lifeguard and an ambulance.
“When I was doing compressions I went hard on her,” she said. “She started to cough up water and was sick and we got her onto the sunbed and got some towels wrapped around her.”
Sonya was later discharged from hospital and met up with her rescuer – incredibly, the pair were staying at the same hotel.
“She threw her arms around me and said ‘You’ve saved my life,'” Lee-Bernadette recalled. “We sat and spoke for a couple of hours. She’s 79 with her 80th birthday in two weeks. She’s a modern language teacher who lives in London. She still plays tennis and dubs herself an athlete.”
Sonya told Lee-Bernadette that she remembers trying to swim to an artificial floating pier when she got really tired in a slight riptide. The next thing she remembers is waking up on the beach.
It is not the first time that Lee-Bernadette has been a real-life superhero. She has previously stopped someone jumping off an A500 bridge, saved a boy’s life at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, and stopped someone choking on a pastry in a Glasgow Costco.