Mystery rescuer who saved young girl in Huntingdonshire river acted on ‘instinct and adrenaline’

Katrina Hill, third from left, is the Houghton Mill rescuer

Katrina Hill, third from left, is the Houghton Mill rescuer - Credit: Archant

THE woman who dived into a mill pond to help a 12-year-old girl said she acted on “instinct and adrenaline”.

Kat Hill, 34, and her family went to Houghton Mill on July 21 while visiting her cousin Karen Gallacher, of Nursery Gardens, St Ives, when she heard a man shout in distress.

The RAF flight lieutenant told The Hunts Post, following our report last week about the rescue, that she jumped into the water and swam out to Rebecca Thomas, who had got into trouble in the current from the mill’s wheel, and pulled her to safety.

Rebecca’s brother Daniel, 14, and father Malcolm had also got into difficulty trying to save her.

Flt Lt Hill, who works in RAF logistics, told The Hunts Post: “Someone was shouting in distress and I could see the terror in their faces and hear it in their voices. I have been a lifeguard before and I dived in and went to get them.

“There was another man on a canoe who had also come out. There was a current from the wheel and you could understand panic.

“I got them to calm down and grab on to the canoe.

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“I told them to get to the reeds and they were able to put their feet on the bottom and walk out.”

The modest mum-of-two, who is moving from High Wycombe to Cyprus shortly, added: “Anybody would have done it.

“There were a few people around. I think they thought they were mucking about.

“It’s one of those things you look at but you can only look at it for so long before taking action.

“Maybe it’s because I had just got back from a six-month tour of Afghanistan that I was on uber alertness.

“I was as qualified as many there to do it, a bit more perhaps due to my lifestyle and I feel at home in the water ... I just acted on instinct and adrenaline.

“When she was out I just gave the girl a big hug.

“Perhaps in hindsight I would have taken my shoes off or checked that my watch was waterproof, but there wasn’t time for that.”

Mrs Gallacher said: “Kat’s a great role model and a unique woman.”

The Thomases, from Alconbury, were on a week-long holiday at Houghton Mill Caravan Site.