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Former Nurse Saves Drowning Woman From Turkish Sea


Lee-Bernadette Walford, a former nurse, saved a vacationer’s life after an incident while swimming in Turkey.

Walford, 53, was enjoying a beautiful day on the water in Olu Deniz when she heard a man cry out for help and saw him dragging someone to shore. Walford, of Staffordshire, rushed to help and realized it was a woman who was not breathing.

She managed to use CPR to revive Sonya Grist, 79, a fellow vacationer from England. The nurse said the pair are now friends. She described how the man, a German tourist, was dragging what I thought was a lifeless little girl out of the sea and he was shouting ‘medic’ ‘medic”. Walford said, “She [Mrs Grist] was a dreadful colour and I basically had to start compressions.” Grist was later taken to hospital by ambulance and treated overnight.

Walford said, “I flicked on, my adrenaline was going.” She said, “There were people actually videoing me doing that and lots of people didn’t even get off their sunbeds to help – which is quite alarming for myself.”

It happened on the second day of her holiday on 2 October and Walford said she had “luckily” been in earshot of the man’s shouts for help.

Walford described the situation, “My husband had got a little bit sunburned on the first day so he was trying to stay out of the sun and I decided I wanted to go further towards the shore.”

Two days afterwards, Walford bumped into Grist coming out of a sauna at the resort in Lykia.

Walford said, “She just said ‘you saved my life’ and started to hug me. It was very, very emotional.”

The pair have since gone to dinner and become friends. She discovered Grist, a keen sportswoman and tour guide from London, had got into trouble after getting caught in a “slight riptide”. Grist said, “She was trying to reach an artificial pier and she didn’t quite make it, she was getting tired.”

Walford, a mother-of-four from Newcastle-under-Lyme, urged everyone to learn life-saving skills.

Walford said, “I used to be a lifeguard and a nurse and I’ve got lots of life experiences and I’m always a little a bit aware of my surroundings.”

Over the years, her ability to stay calm in a crisis has helped her save a number of people, including a boy who was in difficulty in a leisure center pool and an elderly man who was choking. Walford described new friend Grist as “so interesting, an absolutely lovely woman”, adding she was going to her 80th birthday party later this month.


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