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29 Aug, 2009 06:33

Russian border patrol saves Georgian girl

A Georgian family in South Ossetia has been showing its gratitude to the Russian military for rescuing their daughter. Border guards snatched the little girl from a freezing torrent after she tumbled down a river bank.

Russian border guard Yuri Seryogin is now the Georgian family's honored friend.

“My dear, let me kiss your hand,” says the grandmother, expressing her gratitude to the Russian soldier.

“This is your savior,” she says to her granddaughter.

Last month, Yuri and two of his colleagues saved the life of seven-year-old Keti.

The girl nearly drowned after spending minutes under the waters of the Ksani River, which passes close by her home. The girl was playing with her friends when she slipped down into the river off the stone embankment. The fierce current took her approximately 300 meters before the Russian border guards managed to fish her out of the ice-cold water.

Yuri explains what happened. As he and his friends were patrolling the riverbank, they saw a woman running towards them crying something in Georgian and pointing at the water.

Suddenly they noticed a young girl's body being carried by the stream. One of the men jumped into the river but the girl slipped past him. His partner ran along the bank and plunged into the water.

“We performed CPR and she began to breathe on the bank. Anybody would have done that had they had been in our place, never mind whether they're Ossetian, Georgian, or Russian,” says Russian border guard Yury.

After making sure Keti was safe, Yuri stopped a passing car to take her to hospital. Doctors say if it were not for the immediate help from the border guards, Keti could have died. Her mother can’t help shedding a tear every time she remembers the day.

“I am very grateful to the Russian border guards. If it wasn’t for them, I would have lost my baby forever,” says Giuli Chitishvili, Keti’s mother.

Little Keti is proudly showing a wooden cross, a gift for good luck from Yuri, one of her saviors. She doesn’t remember exactly what happened, but she realizes it was something awful.

Keti doesn’t like to speak about her accident. Her mother says she wrote about it, saying “the River Ksani angered me very much … but I love it anyway.”

Yuri and his colleagues have been commended for saving the girl’s life and expect to receive medals soon.