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Two police officers who saved a woman from the sea at Clacton have been recognised with commendations from Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington.
Sgt Andrew Hynes and PC Zoe Bowers were called to the beach just before 11pm on a cold night in January last year after a member of the public reported there was a person in the water.
The officers searched the shoreline and located the women after hearing her cries for help.
She was gripping onto the legs of the pier 30 metres from shore and struggling to stay afloat in strong currents.
Sgt Hynes said: “As I got towards the pier, I heard ‘Help me! Help me!’ Officers came down with search lights and there were a couple of fishermen with torches.
“We saw her head and her clinging to the pier. I took my jacket off, handed over my wallet and keys, ran in and swam out to her.”
Sgt Hynes powered through the icy water, reached the woman and pulled her back towards PC Bowers and a colleague who’d both waded in to help.
PC Bowers regularly swims in the sea off the Essex coast, but said she was shocked by the temperature of the water.
“It was freezing. I could barely breathe I was so cold,” she said.
Sgt Hynes went under several times as he fought to keep the woman’s head above water, but all three officers and the woman made it safely back to the beach.
The woman was showing signs of hyperthermia and transferred to a waiting ambulance where she received treatment.
Police Sergeant Andrew Hynes and Police Constable Zoe Bowers were commended for their bravery, professionalism and commitment that undoubtedly saved the life of a vulnerable person.
Commenting on her award, PC Bowers said: “It’s a great honour and not something I thought would happen this early in my career. It’s a great day and nice to be recognised even though we were only doing our jobs.”
Speaking at the event, Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said: “Faced with a dangerous and potentially tragic situation, the officers displayed extraordinary courage even if it meant considerable personal risk.
“Our job as police officers is to help people and keep them safe. The professionalism and dedication of the officers recognised went far beyond that.”
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