A man has become a local hero after saving a teenage girl and three dogs from drowning in a frozen loch in Scotland.
Chris Flemming sprang into action when he spotted the young woman and three dogs fall through ice into the freezing water at Crombie Park in Dundee on Thursday while the victim’s sister stood panic stricken at the edge of the water.
The 40-year-old said only one other bystander was in the area at the time – but they stood by and did nothing while he jumped into the freezing water, sustaining ice burns and scratches from the hapless four-legged animals.
Mr Flemming was walking his own dog, Arthur, at the time of the incident, and suggests an element of fate made him go for a walk that afternoon – with disaster being averted thanks to his actions.
Recounting his heroic acts to EdinburghLive, he said: "I wasn't even going to go on a walk, my head was telling me to not go but my gut was telling me to go.
"I had taken Arthur out of the car but he didn't want to move, so I picked up him and took him to a grassy area.
"I then saw this other dog just running about like mad and decided to go in a different direction."
He continued: "I saw the other two girls with their two golden retrievers and saw this dog go over to them with a ball in his mouth.
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"The dog then dropped his ball, which rolled down the embankment and the dog went down after it and went through the ice, then the other two dogs followed that dog and fell in.
"The girl who had the two golden retrievers ran down and tried to save them, and she's only about 19, and fell in.
"It was so icy, so I couldn't run over and had to sort of scoot over. I was telling her to stand up because I thought it couldn't be that deep but she couldn't.
“I gave Arthur to her sister, who had a newborn baby with her and was panicking. She was going to go in.”
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Once in the water himself, Mr Flemming said he struggled to pull the animals, young woman, and himself back to dry land.
He recalled: "I was just thinking I had to crawl on my belly and I went in.
"I was trying to hold up these two golden retrievers that were kicking my legs and I had my elbow underneath this girl's chin while she's holding her dog up.
"I realised it wasn't working and the dogs were dragging me down, they were like cement. Then I saw another guy come over to help and I suddenly thought I need to try and smash the ice.”
He went on: "I started smashing the ice in front of me, I don't know where the strength came from, and told the girl and him to do the same, eventually we got to the side [of the loch] and I was just on my hands and knees."
Mr Flemming was left angry when one of the dogs he rescued ran back to it’s owner – who failed to help or offer any thanks for the rescue.
Blasting the woman the dog belonged to, he said: "The woman who had one of the dogs just whistled and called 'stupid dog' and walked off, she didn't even offer to help.
"That's why I shared the post because I thought to myself 'you can't control your dog, you should have never put me in that situation'.
"I never put anything negative on Facebook but felt I had to say something because that woman really didn't give a s***. I didn't give it a second thought, my iPod and Apple watch were in my pocket, which's hundreds of pounds, and she just walks off.
"If I hadn't been there, that girl and dogs would have drowned, there was no one else around. I know it sounds dramatic but they would have drowned, it was that bad."
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He also explained why he couldn’t afford to stand by and wait for emergency services, saying: "I'm not going to stand at the side of a frozen lake and watch a young girl and three dogs drown.
"It would have taken some time for emergency services to get out there. I would never stand at the side and watch it happen and for those who say I shouldn't have gone in, well, they weren't in that situation."
In a further twist of fate, it transpired the girl Mr Flemming rescued was the daughter of one of his clients from the gym he owns.
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