IT’S not an everyday event when someone receives a Royal Life Saving Bravery Award. Then again, it’s not an everyday event when the crew of a tall ship swings into action to save a fisherman from drowning.
After spotting a man tumble three metres into the water from Fremantle wharf in September, the STS Leeuwin II youth leadership crew put their safety training into action.
Realising the 40-year-old was struggling to keep his head above water and was in danger of being swept under the wharf, bosun Angela Lewis knew she needed to act quickly.
“I jumped in the water to try and keep his head up until the pilot boat arrived,”she told the Herald after the rescue. To keep the man’s spirits up they “chatted about fishing … he said his wife would not be happy because he had not caught anything!”.
Meanwhile, relief engineer Mark Wright climbed down a wharf ladder to hold the pair and stop them drifting off. Ms Lewis says she was in the water holding the man for nearly 30 minutes.
Lewis, Wright and the Leeuwin team were awarded gold medallions at a Government House ceremony Monday. The award recognises outstanding acts of bravery in water-related rescues and rescue attempts.
“The crew constantly go through safety training drills and emergency response is a part of the crew’s training,” Leeuwin CEO Anne-Marie Archer said. “It was fantastic to see that in the rare occasion that an emergency did occur, the team was able to easily work together in a fast response to save the man’s life.”
by NICK WYCHE