Brothers awarded for res­cue

Brave act is recog­nised 45 years later

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - LIFE - Stu­art Cum­ming stu­art.cum­[email protected]­news.com.au

A BRAVE act at a no­to­ri­ous Coast swim spot has been of­fi­cially recog­nised more than 45 years af­ter two brothers risked their lives to save two young girls.

Jim and Hugh McClel­land were 16 and 15 when their pa­trol of Bul­cock Beach for Ithaca-Caloun­dra City Life Sav­ing Club took a dra­matic turn on the af­ter­noon of Jan­uary 9, 1974.

Girls aged about 10 and 11 were spot­ted on small rented surf­boards caught in an out­go­ing cur­rent and be­ing sucked out to sea through dan­ger­ous surf at the Caloun­dra bar.

Jim, now 62, re­called barely be­ing able to keep up with the girls as he, Hugh and an­other pa­trol mem­ber, David Rob­son, sprinted along the sand.

“I re­mem­ber hit­ting the surf and it was like a wash­ing ma­chine,” Jim said.

They lost the girls and found them again re­peat­edly as they were churned in the waves.

Some­how they man­aged to hang on to the girls as they were sucked be­yond the break­ers and south along the north­ern end of Bri­bie Is­land.

They each car­ried a girl on their backs as they fought the cur­rent for more than an hour to get back to shore, more than 1.5km south of the bar.

They were fine, but Mr Rob­son was hos­pi­talised for ex­haus­tion, such was the ef­fort of his sprint to alert the Kings Beach in­spec­tor.

Jim said neither he nor Hugh, now 60, had heard from the girls since that day.

He said it was a “hell of a sur­prise” to re­ceive con­fir­ma­tion ear­lier this month their ef­forts had earned Brav­ery Medals in the Aus­tralian Brav­ery Awards.

“It’s a good mem­ory from the point of view it was very suc­cess­ful,” Jim said.

PHOTO: PA­TRICK WOODS

HON­OUR: Brothers Hugh and Jim McClel­land have re­ceived brav­ery medals for a res­cue at Bul­cock Beach in Jan­uary 1974.

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