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The grateful message shared by the missing man's family after he was found by PC Rowlands.
An officer who felt compelled to give up her rest day to join the search efforts for a pensioner who had been missing for more than 24 hours – and found him 30 minutes later – has said she was "just doing her duty".
PC Amy Rowlands, who is currently seconded to the National Police Air Service, had been on shift last Saturday (August 14) when a search was launched for a missing 85-year-old from Porthcawl.
She finished her shift with the vulnerable man still not found and after getting some rest from her night shift, she said she was “unable to shake the feeling” that she might be able to find him.
Acting on instinct and some potential sightings mentioned on the South Wales Police Facebook appeal, PC Rowlands took her bike to Porthcawl. Following Google Maps and her gut, she managed to locate the man some 30 minutes later.
PC Rowlands said:
“When I woke from my night shift, I was really hopeful the man would have been found because he’d been missing for hours and all through the night. I couldn’t stop thinking about him and I could see the outpouring of concern on the South Wales Police Facebook appeal.
“I noticed someone mentioned a potential sighting in the comments and she seemed so certain. I don’t know Porthcawl at all so I searched the location on Google maps and decided to go there. I told my children that I needed to go and help find somebody’s grandad.
“I knew there was a huge coordinated search effort underway but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I might be able to find him.”
Using maps on her phone and an intuitive guess that the missing man wouldn’t have veered off a certain path unless it was blocked, PC Rowlands followed her gut instinct. She eventually reached an overgrown area on the side of a road, where she noticed a steep 15ft verge. Sensing she may be close, began shouting for the man.
“It was too dangerous to search the verge so I began to shout and suddenly I just saw a head moving and a low voice. I got a huge rush of adrenalin and I was overcome with emotion.
“I called 999, and I really wanted to go and sit with him, but the first rule of First Aid is to not become a casualty yourself, and I also knew if I went down the verge they wouldn’t see me from the road either.
“I was elated when a traffic car arrived in minutes followed by the Territorial Support Teams who arrived with all the equipment to start the rescue operation. Everyone was so relieved and the teams who arrived were all incredible.
“It was really difficult for them to recover him from the verge and it took quite some time, but I just had to wait and see him in to the ambulance and know he was safe. His family also came to the scene and were so grateful to everyone concerned. They hugged me and thanked me, but I was just glad to be a part of this huge community effort.
“It wasn’t just me, the search team worked around the clock and were incredible and I was just one small part of a big caring community.
“The positive feedback has been surreal but so lovely. To me, I was just doing my duty, what I would ordinarily do. It just so happened I was on a bike instead of in a helicopter and I was on a rest day instead of in work.”