Hero could feel him­self drown­ing

North Shore Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - AMANDA SAXTON

A man who tried to save a drown­ing boy in Devon­port on Satur­day be­lieved he would also die in the wa­ter.

Bernard Riedl, 28, dived off the Tor­pedo Bay wharf in his un­der­wear af­ter the five-year-old fell into the sea and he heard a man yell ‘‘jump’’.

The boy had been on a fam­ily ex­cur­sion at the time, and was un­able to be re­vived by emer­gency ser­vices when he was pulled from the wa­ter around 3.15pm.

Riedl said he didn’t see the fam­ily, but heard the boy’s mother scream­ing: ‘‘It was all I could hear ... the most hor­ri­ble screams’’, he said from his home in Bayswa­ter af­ter­wards.

He said the wa­ter was choppy and that the boy had been ‘‘re­ally, re­ally strug­gling’’ to keep afloat.

‘‘I swam to him and he put his hands around my neck, hang­ing on for dear life,’’ he said.

‘‘But it was so rough, and I could feel my­self drown­ing. I was try­ing to make sure both of us could get air.’’

Riedl, weak­ened by the choppy wa­ter, tried to lie on his back, but the child then de­tached.

He was in the wa­ter for maybe ten min­utes, be­fore get­ting washed near the shore. He dragged him­self up and walked back to the wharf, where he gave a state­ment to po­lice.

In­spec­tor Ja­son Green­halgh said the boy’s death will be re­ferred to the Coro­ner.

JA­SON DORDAY/STUFF

Bernard Riedl, a 28-year-old Bayswa­ter res­i­dent, said he was ‘‘winded’’ when he learnt the boy he had tried to save had died.

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