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Community / Training dummy floating in sea proves to be frightful surprise for dog walker

Rozanne Georgeson was in for a big surprise when she was walking her dog at the Sands of Sound beach in Lerwick on Wednesday. Photo: Private

IT IS something that would fill anyone with instant dread – seeing what you believe to be a person lying face down, floating in the sea.

That was the situation presented to Rozanne Georgeson from Lerwick on Wednesday at the Sands of Sound beach in Lerwick.

‘Fred’ drying off after being rescue at the Sands o Sound beach, in Lerwick. Photo: RNLI

The good Samaritan ran into the sea and hauled the ‘person’ out onto the beach – but thankfully it turned out to be a coastguard training dummy.

The 25-year-old midwife said she was out walking her dog on what was a grey and miserable November day.

She said she was standing chatting with someone who usually goes out swimming but had decided against it because it was too rough, when they both thought they saw someone in the water.

“So when I got down to the beach I realised the swimmer looked like a person floating face down in the water, so I ran across the beach with all these things going through my head just as ‘how do I revive this person, it’s Covid, so I can’t do mouth to mouth’,” she said.

“So I ran into the water, it was quite close inshore so I only had to go in up to my knees, and I grabbed hold of the person wearing a survival suit and a life jacket.

“It was so heavy, but I managed to pull it out of the water onto the sand and I flipped it over and it didn’t have a face; it was a dummy and I thought ‘oh my god, am I actually going crazy?’ I was completely confused, my adrenalin was going, my heart beating fast, but it was definitely just a dummy.”

Police and the Lerwick Lifeboat crew were informed, with two RNLI members heading to the beach to check it out.

“Although it’s not ours we took him back for a shower and a chance to dry off so nobody else got a nasty surprise,” the lifeboat crew said.

The training dummy – called Fred – was from the coastguard helicopter but it had to be left behind Wednesday morning when the chopper returned to Sumburgh.

Rozanne added that she was due to go on nightshift yesterday and had hoped to sleep for a few hours ahead of her work but that was out of the question.

“I can laugh about it now, but at the time – and even although it was just a split second – I had all these thoughts rushing through my head…thank goodness it was only a dummy and not a real person.”