Pool man­ager in Hawaii res­cue

Narrogin Observer - - Front Page - Saskia Adysti

It just both­ers me the amount of peo­ple that was snap­ping pic­tures rather than help­ing. Jen Ban­ner­man

Jen Ban­ner­man of­ten scares her mother with her su­per­hero com­plex, so it came as no sur­prise when she saw her vol­un­teer to cross a rag­ing river four times to res­cue a stranded fam­ily dur­ing their trip in Hawaii.

Jen Ban­ner­man, who works as a pool man­ager in Wa­gin, was trav­el­ling with her mother in Maui when they came across a stranded fam­ily at Twin Falls river.

“When I first got there the fa­ther was stuck in the mid­dle of the river, strug­gling to go back to the other side,” Ms Ban­ner­man said.

“They were trapped at the wrong side of the river and there was nowhere else for them to go,”

The Cal­i­for­nian fam­ily had crossed the river in the morn­ing when it was only an­kle-deep, but when they came back the river was close to two me­tres deep. The rain had filled the river and the stream was mov­ing rapidly.

“Swim­ming was im­pos­si­ble — I’m a strong swim­mer but it was ab­so­lutely im­pos­si­ble,” Ms Ban­ner­man said.

A park of­fi­cer then came to help the fam­ily but he was un­able to cross the river due to the heavy stream. He then pro­vided Ms Ban­ner­man with a rope which she threw to the other side of the river to the fam­ily, who then tied it around a tree.

That’s when Ms Ban­ner­man crossed the river for the first time, with the rope as an aid to check an al­ter­na­tive way for the mother and her two sons and daugh­ters to cross to the other side.

When she re­alised that the river was their only way out, Ms Ban­ner­man de­cided to carry the two sons and daugh­ter back to shore on sep­a­rate trips.

How­ever, dur­ing her fourth trip the river had risen close to 3m deep and she al­most lost grip of the rope.

“Dur­ing the last cross I thought I was go­ing to go down the wa­ter­falls, I can feel the son al­most slip- ping from my back,” she said. “I was ex­hausted by the time I got the three kids over, I couldn’t go back to get the mother.”

How­ever, with care­ful in­struc­tions from Ms Ban­ner­man, the mother man­aged to cross the river safely on her own.

It took Ms Ban­ner­man al­most an hour to get the fam­ily back to shore, but what frus­trated her most dur­ing this time was the num­ber of on­look­ers who were stand­ing around and tak­ing pic­tures, in­stead of of­fer­ing any kind of help.

“It just both­ers me the amount of peo­ple that was snap­ping pic­tures rather than help­ing, they could have helped the kids when they got across but they didn’t,” she said.

“I guess that’s just the kind of world we live in now.”

Ms Ban­ner­man has been liv­ing in the Great Southern area for the past decade and has lived in Wa­gin for the past four years.

She also worked at the Katan­ning pool when she first moved to Australia and of­ten vol­un­teered as a life guard.

“My mum said I’ve al­ways got a su­per hero com­plex — I’ve done silly things like that be­fore just to help some­one — I scared my mum a lot,” Ms Ban­ner­man said.

Twin Falls river in Maui.

Jen Ban­ner­man dur­ing the res­cue op­er­a­tion.

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