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Georgia Laurie (right) saved her twin sister Melissa from a crocodile attack nearly three years ago

By Indy Almroth-Wright & PA Media
BBC News

A woman who saved her twin sister from a crocodile attack by punching it will receive a King’s Gallantry Medal.

Georgia Laurie, 31, from Sandhurst, repeatedly hit the reptile in the face after it attacked Melissa while they were swimming in Mexico in June 2021.

The twins were treated in hospital where Melissa developed sepsis and was put into a medically induced coma.

Georgia said: “I feel really privileged, it’s a silver lining to have come out of the terrible ordeal.”

After finding out she had been included on the King’s first Civilian Gallantry List, she said: “It’s an honour, I was so shocked when I received the letter because I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t expect it.

“What’s made this story so incredible is Melissa’s unwavering bravery throughout it all because she was so strong during it and I don’t think I would be here without her, she really gave me the strength to keep fighting.”

Georgia Laurie (right) described the medal as “a silver lining to have come out of the terrible ordeal”

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Melissa said: “It all happened very quickly.

“When I was bitten and dragged under water I thought ….’that’s it I’m a gonner’.

“I could feel myself losing grip of our bond when I was on the boat. I was saying ‘hug me Georgia hug me I’m dying’… I was biting onto her shoulder to stay connected to her.

“She sang Stand By Me and Don’t Worry About A Thing – she sang them on repeat to keep me calm. She was so brave.”

Following the attack, nearly three years ago, Melissa suffered an open fracture to her wrist, severe bite wounds to the abdomen and many to her leg and foot, while Georgia was bitten on her hand.

Georgia added: “The further away it gets, the less it feels real.

“But then something like this happens and it puts it all back into perspective again, like wow, that actually did happen, it’s a crazy story.

“Because when you think about it, it does sound like a horror movie, but it is a part of our life, it’s part of the tapestry of our life.

“We are much closer now as a result of what happened – our bond was severed when I thought that she had died.”

Georgia (right) saved Melissa from the jaws of a crocodile

The twins, from Berkshire were out swimming during a guided river tour in a lagoon near Puerto Escondido to see the water glowing with bioluminescence when the crocodile attacked.

Bioluminescence is the light that some living creatures, such as plankton, emit from their cells

They had been in Mexico in June 2021 to volunteer, work in animal sanctuaries and travel.

On 11 August the pair are set to swim the Thames Marathon to raise money for two causes, PTSD UK and Compañeros En Salud, a charity in Mexico which provides essential aid and medical training to communities in Chiapas.

They hope to raise over £4,000 through the endurance swim between Henley-on-Thames and Marlow.

Listen to an interview with Ms Laurie on Life Changing with Dr Sian Williams on Wednesday at 09:00 on BBC Radio 4.

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30 November 2023
8 June 2021