UBMSRFC players recognised for their heroics in St Lucia shooting

Report from the Bournemouth Echo


Sam Walon, 22, and his friend Matthew Carter, who both study medicine at the University of Birmingham, had been in St Lucia on a four-week placement at the island’s Victoria Hospital.

One person died and at least four people were left injured, including a child, after the incident in Peynier Street in Castries on May 29.

Sam and Matthew were in the Pensioners Bar when they heard the first set of “loud bangs”, which they initially thought may have been a car backfiring or firecrackers but soon realised something serious had happened when the smell of cordite flowed into the bar.

Sam said: “There were crowds of people around the wounded to the left, but a lone man was left on the side of the street bleeding profusely from gunshot wounds in his right abdomen, and two shots to his right knee - there were no exit wounds to any of the shots.

“We had a simple choice, to turn away, trusting that an ambulance would arrive quickly and help the man, or help. After a moments’ hesitation we chose the latter. As it was so soon after the shooting (probably about half a minute) we cautiously walked over, hands in the air and crouching low to the ground as to not provoke any more violence.

“From there we used the basics of what we've learnt in our four years of medical school to stop the bleeding (using a standard A-E approach) and relax the patient as much as possible. We did not have any gloves or rags - Matt stripped off his shirt and used it to plug a wound and I used my fingers. We eventually had rags, given to us by locals, and gloves by the police.”

Police and the fire service arrived on the scene followed by the ambulance service with Sam and Matthew then travelling onto hospital with the crew and offering support until staff at Victoria Hospital were able to take over.

Sam said: “At the time I don't remember feeling scared, we just knew we had to act quick or else he was going to go into shock and potentially die from the blood loss. I do however remember how, when we got a moment to catch our breath, that my legs were shaking from the adrenaline of the situation.”

Following the incident, Sam and Matthew met with St Lucia's National Security, Minister Hermangild Francis, who thanked them and gave them a token of appreciation.

Sam, who returns back to the UK next month, added: "It is still a surreal experience for me, one which I'm not sure I could ever fully believe had really happened. But I know I could have done nothing more than I did, and that in itself is comforting."

Matt and Sam with the National Security Minister

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