Teenage girls awarded for bravery

ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 16:41 17/12/2013
Bravery teens
ANDREA O’NEIL/FAIRFAX NZ

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

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."

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