Two heroic Akzo Nobel employees in Greece have been praised for their bravery after diving into a local harbor to save a woman and her young daughter from drowning.
Christos Demertzis and Dimitris Rakitzakis raced to the aid of Lonora Shyti and three-year-old Dionisida after they heard screams while driving near the fisherman’s port in Elefsina during a delivery of the company’s Vivechrom® coatings products.
“We saw a woman and a little girl in the water and it was obvious they were both in a lot of trouble,” explained Dimitris (47) who has worked for Vivechrom for two years. “The woman was just trying to keep afloat because she couldn’t swim and was screaming for help, while the little girl was in serious difficulty.”
Lonora threw herself into the cold water of the port after her daughter slipped and fell in. When they arrived on the scene, Christos and Dimitris had no hesitation in plunging in to save them.
“We were just concerned about the two people in the water, particularly the girl, who was already half-drowned,” added Christos (23). “It was an instinctive act and I think we arrived just in time.”
Mother and daughter were immediately rushed to hospital, where Dionisida remained for three days in critical condition. But she has now been released and is recovering at home, where Christos still visits her every week. “I think what I did that day is the most important thing I have ever done in my life,” he said.
The event also had a profound affect on Dimitris, who said that the rescue in early December had turned Christmas into the best he’d ever had.
News of their heroic act spread rapidly throughout the town and as well as making headlines in local newspapers, the two employees were also officially congratulated by Vivechrom management, who presented both men with a check for EUR 1,500.
(Released: January 12, 2005)