I came across this article on the rescue I did a few years ago.
Teenager rewarded for dramatic surf rescue
“We just did it and it was done. It only sunk in later that oh yeah, we saved a guy’s life!” he said.
A voice screaming the word “danger” was the first Peter and his mate Drew Dainer knew something was wrong as they walked to Beagle Bay Beach on the quiet south coast town of Durras about 10 am on January 4. They quickly realised a man had been sucked out by a rip and was drowning about 200m out in the surf.
“He was just this tiny dot and you could see him every now and then because the waves would bob him up and down,” he said.
Peter and Drew quickly put on the flippers they had brought with them and headed out to the man on their bodyboards – a swim that took them about 15 minutes as they battled against breaking waves after first catching the rip out.
The teenagers were shocked at the man’s physical condition when they reached him.
“He was just white as a ghost and like jelly,” said Peter.
They then started the hard task of bringing the man in to the beach as well as assisting another man who had swum out to help the drowning man only to get trapped himself.
“We started kicking him in and it just seemed like forever,” said Peter, who had never been out that far in the surf in his life.
While all this was going on, a large crowd including Peter’s mum Mary was watching anxiously from the unpatrolled beach.
“I just stood there and watched and waited and hoped,” she said.
Peter and Drew eventually brought the man in – to a greeting of hugs and tears from relieved people on the beach.
Too physically exhausted to appreciate their efforts immediately after the rescue, Peter and Drew became minor celebrities in the tight-knit seaside town over the next few days. This status will be reignited on Monday when they are awarded Royal Life Saving Society Australia commendation certificates for their part in the rescue.
Not long after this, Peter and his family will head back to Durras for their Christmas holidays, an annual tradition Peter has taken part in since he was four years old – only this time he hopes it won’t be quite as action-packed as last year.