A HERO rescuer has told how his brave attempt to pull two young brothers from a muddy swamp ended with him having to be rescued by firefighters.
Sean Urquhart, 45, ran from his ninth-floor Edinburgh flat after hearing screams from nine and ten year-old boys who were buried waist deep in cold mud in a site behind the tower block.
Despite freeing one boy, Mr Urquhart became trapped himself. He and the other boy were freed by firefighters who used a ladder to help pull them out of the freezing mud.
The two brothers, Jack and Peter Wilson, had run into the building site just off Greendykes Road, in Edinburgh, to find their dog Sasha, a black Labrador cross which had become stuck in the mud just after 7pm on Monday.
A friend of the boys managed to raise the alarm.
Mr Urquhart, who lives in Greendykes House which borders the site, said: “I just heard them screaming and I went to see what was happening. I don’t see that as being a hero.
“They were panicking and screaming. I had heard them from my flat and I knew there was something up. I got stuck, but it wasn’t as bad as them.
“It was up past my knees and pulling me down, it was like squatting with 100 kilos on your back, but I’ve come across scarier things than that.
“They were quite stuck and the mud was up to their waists, I just tried to reassure them until the fire brigade got there.”
The brothers were taken to Edinburgh Sick Children for treatment, but were unhurt and were released.
Their mother, Tracy Watt, said she was grateful to Mr Urquhart, who is a friend of the family.
She said: “We’re so grateful for Sean being there. I’m still trying to get my head around it, we could have been burying them.
“There’s not many people who would actually do what Sean did, so we’re really thankful.”
Fire crews used a nine-metre ladder and placed it across the muddy area as a bridge.
Two firefighters then crawled along it to pull the remaining boy and his would-be rescuer free.
The fire service said by 7.39pm all three were free.
They were cold and wet and were checked over by ambulance crews at the scene before being taken to hospital for a check-up.
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: “This was a very frightening situation for the two boys who became stuck. They were shocked and very cold by the time they were freed from the mud.
“A man living nearby had heard their cries for help and went to investigate. He managed to release one boy before becoming trapped himself.
“Fortunately the swift actions of the firefighters, who were able to assess the situation and effect a rescue using their ladders, meant that all three were released safely. They had a very lucky escape and had the alarm not been raised so swiftly things could have ended very differently.
“The site had a lot of standing water and excavations and as such was a precarious place for children to investigate. We would urge parents to remind children of the dangers of playing in places that are unsafe and the risks that they could face.
“Hopefully all three will make a swift recovery.”