Team’s rescue draws praise
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.