Pool manager in Hawaii rescue
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.