Two federal policemen on Tuesday received the Carnegie Hero Fund medal in Namur from Governor Denis Mathen for saving a person who had fallen into the icy waters of the Sambre River near the Pont de l’Évêché road bridge.
The two policemen were in their vehicle when they saw a person floundering in the Sambre. Despite the cold, Kevin Paty did not hesitate to plunge into the water to bring the person back to the shore, after which the emergency rescue services took over. His colleague, Dimitri Estienne, fractured both heels during the rescue operation when he jumped off a wall almost four metres high to gain time.
Despite his injuries, he then took charge of coordinating the operation.
“We do not know, and probably will never know why this person was in the water,” Kevin Paty explained. “We never heard from them after, but we were able to save them and that’s the main thing for us.”
“This award is a beautiful expression of thanks, even if we only did our duty as citizens and policemen,” he added.
The Carnegie Hero Fund medal, which honours life-saving acts of bravery, was created by Royal decree on 29 November 1911 following a sizeable donation to the Belgian Government by Andrew Carnegie, a U.S. philanthropist of Scottish origin. The attribution of the medal is decided by a commission chaired by the Federal Minister of the Interior.