Young lifesavers rescue couple

Ella O'Brien, Zoe Honey, Tomas Perez Pages, Drew Honey and Byron Foord. (Justin Flynn). 202956

By Justin Flynn

By Justin Flynn

Two overseas tourists owe their lives to a group of young locals who saved them from drowning.

The tourists, believed to be from Turkey, were in trouble around 500 metres east from Ocean Grove main beach late last month when the youngsters used their lifesaving skills to get the couple back to shore safely.

Ella O’Brien, 14, Zoe Honey, 15, Tomas Perez Pages, 14, Drew Honey, 16, Bryon Foord, 13, Finlay Rolfs, 13, Cookie Robinson, 12, Roo Robinson, 14, Will Perry, 13, Mackenzie Hooper, 16, and James and Charlie Leahy, both 13, were together for a paddle after completing their Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC) and Bronze Medallion.

It was more than 40 degrees and around 7pm and beach patrols had finished for the day.

Ella said: “We were just out paddling and catching waves and we saw two people in trouble.”

“The man was further out with a blow-up pineapple and the woman was a bit further in.

“We split into two groups so some went to the man and some went to the woman.

“The man, after a few goes without tipping the board, got on successfully and Drew paddled him in.

“We went to the woman, who didn’t feel comfortable enough getting onto the board, so we kept her in her floating device and put her between two boards while Zoe and Charlie paddled her in.”

The group was elated after rescuing the tourists.

“They didn’t really speak much English but they thanked us,” Ella said.

“Probably surfers would have realised [they were in trouble] but they were pretty far away from other people.

“We just sort of said ‘that was fun’.”

Ella said the rescue only fuelled the group’s desire to keep participating in surf lifesaving.

“Definitely, because now we know what to do because of SRC and Bronze,” she said.


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