Team’s res­cue draws praise

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS -

WHAT started as a reg­u­lar day of work for the Cock­burn Aquatic and Recre­ation Cen­tre life­guards soon turned into one they would never for­get.

Rhi­an­non Keel, Peter De­laney, Sam Hendry, Josh Wood, Andrew Macray and Michael Pinkham were on duty when they no­ticed some­thing out of the or­di­nary hap­pen­ing in the 50m pool.

Ms Keel, Cock­burn ARC’s op­er­a­tions team leader, said they ini­tially thought some­one was hav­ing a seizure.

“Once in the wa­ter it be­came ev­i­dent that the woman was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a se­vere men­tal health ill­ness and was try­ing to pro­pel her­self un­der­wa­ter and hit her head on the base of the pool,” she said.

“Sam and I en­tered the wa­ter to as­sist as the woman was re­sist­ing Andrew and Michael; mean­while, Josh pre­pared the pool deck with first aid gear in­clud­ing oxy­gen, blan­kets and pri­vacy screens.

“The woman sub­merged her­self mul­ti­ple times, hit­ting her head against the pool floor and edge; each time she sur­faced say­ing to leave her and that she wanted to die.

“Once she was fi­nally on the pool edge, the team be­gan ad­min­is­ter­ing oxy­gen and did a se­condary check for other in­juries.

“Other staff stepped in to look af­ter the woman’s daugh­ter, giv­ing her an ice cream and com­fort­ing her in the of­fice while they waited and then the woman was handed to the care of emer­gency ser­vices.”

For their ac­tions, the group was recog­nised with a 2018 Royal Life Sav­ing Brav­ery Award last Wed­nes­day.

Ms Keel said it was im­por­tant the team was there to help the woman.

Cock­burn aquatic life­guards Josh Wood, Michael Pinkham, Rhi­an­non Keel, Sam Hendry and Peter De­laney with their awards.

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