Sea Scout to res­cue

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE DAW­SON

SAB­RINA Par­sons put all the skills she learned as a Sea Scout into prac­tice when she rescued a man three times her size at a North­land beach.

The One­hunga teen and best mate Amo­hia Afeaki, both 15, made heroic ef­forts to res­cue two adult swim­mers who got into trou­ble in a rip at Matauri Bay, north of Kerik­eri.

The two girls, who have been mates since meet­ing as eight-year-olds at the Aotea Sea Scouts in One­hunga, were glad to have the years of drills be­hind them when dis­as­ter struck on Jan­uary 6.

They were boo­gie board­ing at the usu­ally safe beach when they were hailed by two men about 30m away.

They swam over to find both strug­gling and in dis­tress.

‘‘The water was nice but there was a southerly so the waves were pretty big,’’ Sab­rina says.

‘‘They were scream­ing out for help and go­ing un­der the water . . . Amo­hia had swum over and they were hold­ing her board.’’

Sab­rina joined her mate and had one of the men – who she later learned tipped the scales at 150kg – latch on to her board.

The man was not in a good way but Sab­rina kept her cool and dealt with the flail­ing gi­ant to keep both of them alive.

‘‘He was really bad, his eyes were in the back of his head and he wasn’t re­spond­ing.

‘‘I tried speak­ing to him but he wasn’t re­spond­ing so I raised my voice and in­structed him to lis­ten to me.’’

The sharper tone of voice fi­nally got through but he was still pan­ick­ing and strug­gling.

She then calmly told him to breathe ev­ery two sec­onds, a good point to start at when some­one has swal­lowed a lot of water.

‘‘If you don’t have much room in your lungs you won’t be able to breathe much more than that.

‘‘I could hear the water gur­gling in his lungs – that freaked me out.’’

Sab­rina was near­ing the point of ex­haus­tion and on the verge of pan­ick­ing her- self when she found strength in a fa­mil­iar voice.

‘‘I got an­other adren­a­line rush and I could hear mum’s voice say­ing, ‘ Sab­rina, what are you do­ing’, and that calmed me down,’’ she says.

The man con­tin­ued to strug­gle and grab at Sab­rina un­til other swim­mers and a cou­ple of boats ar­rived.

‘‘He wasn’t stay­ing calm, he was flip­ping over and he grabbed my arm. The board was sink­ing so I had to tread harder to keep him, me and the board afloat.’’

She says the or­deal lasted about 20 min­utes be­fore the man was pulled into a boat. Both were taken to hospi­tal and later dis­charged.

The cool headed teen says she just did what she hopes any­one else would do for her.

‘‘I’m not really proud of my­self, I did it but it’s just what I would’ve wanted some­one to do if I was in that sit­u­a­tion.’’

Mum and Sea Scout leader Chris­tine Par­sons is more ef­fu­sive about her daugh­ter’s epic ef­fort.

‘‘We are hellishly proud,’’ she says. ‘‘There were lots of things I didn’t think the kids had taken in but they have. She’s done a really, really good job.’’

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Su­per ef­fort: Hum­ble hero Sab­rina Par­sons at her Sea Scout base in One­hunga.

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