Heroic police officers recognised with award

The scene of the crash in the Manawatu Gorge on 8 July, 2016. Photo: NZ Police

Two police officers who risked their lives to save others have been honoured with the Police Association's Bravery Award in Wellington this morning.

The awards were established in 2010 to recognise officers for their outstanding acts of bravery.

Retired Senior Constable Ross Andrew was the first to receive the award.

Mr Andrew showed his bravery after rushing to the aid of a man and a woman whose truck plunged 50m down a bank in Manawatu Gorge on 8 July, 2016.

He made his way down a steep ravine and waded through rising water to try save the pair. The woman, who was a passenger in the truck, was retrieved first, followed by the driver.

Mr Andrew and another officer, Constable Simon Ashton, stayed with the driver in the water for an hour, keeping his head above water until the rescue helicopter arrived.

A paramedic had to be winched down from the helicopter to the crash site for the driver and passenger. After this, one of the officers was winched out while the other was able to climb out of the gorge with the help of ropes and other staff.

Manawatu Police Area Commander Inspector Sarah Stewart said at the time that the officers along with all the emergency services at the scene put their lives at risk.

"I am incredibly proud of the actions of both officers, they are heroes. They went above and beyond the call of duty and put their lives at risk to save the life of the truck driver and his passenger."

A visibly emotional Darren Critchley was also given an award after he braved dangerous sea conditions at Ninety Mile Beachto save a man and a woman from drowning on December 19, 2016.

A 23-year-old German tourist was swimming in rough surf with her boyfriend, also from Germany, when the pair got into difficulties.

Mr Critchley was off-duty when he borrowed a life jacket and surfboard and went to the rescue.

He managed to save the man but the woman tourist unfortunately drowned.

-RNZ


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