How A Royal Navy Commander Saved A Stranger's Life

Commander Andy Parkinson dived under a yacht to free a trapped woman.

A Royal Navy Commander has been honoured with a Millies 2018 award in the 'Hero at Home - Individual' category for his role in saving a woman who fell into a river and became trapped under a boat.

Cdr Andrew Parkinson was celebrating his birthday on his boat at a marina on the River Hamble in Hampshire in July when he heard cries for help.

Commander Parkinson said he was just about to enjoy a cup of tea when he heard two splashes in the water.

"A couple of seconds afterwards - a female voice screamed help."

Linda Davies had fallen off the back of her motorboat when her husband engaged forward gear.

A man was also in the river after jumping in to rescue her.

Parkinson dived into the water and under the yacht to help the woman. However, the force of the tide meant she was trapped by her lifejacket on the prop shaft of the yacht's propeller.

He managed to get her head just above the water.

"I knew if I let go of her she would be straight back under - she was losing consciousness as well."

Cdr Parkinson directed the other member of the couple's crew to call an ambulance and get him a knife. He went under again and managed to cut away some of the lifejacket. 

Then, using ropes from the yacht he secured the woman, so she wouldn’t sink or get carried off in the fierce current.

Parkinson feared the ambulance would not arrive soon enough.

"The colour had gone from her face. Her lips had turned blue. She was obviously not in a good way at all."

Andrew Parkinson and Linda Davies
Linda Davies (left) with Cdr Parkinson (centre), who saved her life.

Paramedics spent 10 minutes stabilising the woman before transferring her to hospital. One of the South Central Ambulance Service team, William Pammenter, was in no doubt that Parkinson's actions had saved her life.

"I believe that Andrew made the utmost difference to Linda that day and without him being there the situation would have been very different."

Linda Davies and her husband Adrian met up with Commander Parkinson for the first time since the rescue at the marina.

Linda said she was "quite emotional" about the reunion.  

"I'm very grateful to Andy for all that he did to get me out of that situation and to get me back onto land."