Car­ing teenage girls re­warded for brav­ery

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Po­lice have hon­oured three teenage girls for the dra­matic res­cue of a man threat­en­ing to jump off the Plim­mer­ton over­bridge.

Po­lice cer­tifi­cates of ap­pre­ci­a­tion were awarded last week to Rose Boele van Hens­broek, 18, Aimee Grant, 17, and Lib­erty McLaugh­lin, 18.

On Good Fri­day this year the trio, then aged 16 and 17, were walk­ing to Plim­mer­ton train sta­tion when they saw a man had climbed over the bridge’s rails and was lean­ing out over St An­drews Rd.

Cars were stopped by the bridge and sev­eral peo­ple had called the po­lice.

The girls recog­nised the man, who was about 19 years old, from a church youth group. With­out hes­i­ta­tion they ran to his aid. ‘‘ I was like, ‘I’m go­ing to go up there’,’’ Rose said.

Aimee stood back slightly be­cause she didn’t want to crowd the man. Rose and Lib­erty talked to him and held his arms to stop him fall­ing.

‘‘I walked across real calmly and talked to him real calmly. He just said ‘bad day’ sort of thing,’’ Rose said. ‘‘Be­cause he recog­nised me he was able to trust me, and I said, ‘So many peo­ple love you and you were put on this earth for a rea­son’.’’

No­body else had ap­proached the man, Aimee said. ‘‘They were just wait­ing for some­body else to do it. You can’t ex­pect other peo­ple to. You have to step in.’’

While Rose was wor­ried about say­ing the wrong thing, she felt she had to help.

‘‘We had noth­ing to lose. Any­body could have done it,’’ she said.

When the po­lice ar­rived, their sirens made the man panic. Rose and Lib­erty held tightly to the man and had pulled him half­way across the rail­ings when the po­lice ran up and fin­ished the job.

Of­fi­cers praised the girls for their ac­tions. ‘‘They said it was re­ally brave of us and we should be awarded for that,’’ Aimee said.

The in­ci­dent lasted 10 min­utes and af­ter­wards the girls took the train to their party in Para­pa­raumu, but were all in shock and re­turned home early. ‘‘It was quite a silent train ride. It was like, ‘Was that real?’ We were just walk­ing down to the train sta­tion and the next minute we were sav­ing a life.’’

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

Heroic: Teenagers Aimee Grant, left, and Rose Boele van Hens­broek have been hon­oured by po­lice for sav­ing a man’s life on the Plim­mer­ton over­bridge. Lib­erty McLaugh­lin is not pic­tured.

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