Lifesavers Never Give up!
Gold Coast lifesavers' fight to save elderly man restored my faith in humanity
Posted on 16.10.2017
Last week a man died in my arms. I didn’t know him, and it happened so quickly that even now I struggle to remember the exact details.
One minute I was holding my young daughter’s hand, bracing ourselves as we entered the Gold Coast surf.
The next, I was dragging a drowning man back to shore.
The elderly man had suffered a suspected heart attack and collapsed face down in the waves, while a nearby family member struggled to rouse him.
At night I close my eyes trying to remember the precise details — how long it took me to reach him, whether I could’ve done more to keep his face clear of the water, whether I acted urgently enough — as if to reassure myself that we did everything we could to save him.
I remember grabbing the floating man under the armpits, flipping him onto his back, and hauling him backwards towards the shore.
“You’re okay mate, you’ll be alright,” I said — although I’m not sure who I was trying to convince.
The waves kept crashing over his face, but he was now unconscious.It was perhaps only 30 seconds before we got him to the sand. By then, all signs of life had gone — and I was exhausted.
It was all I could do to roll the man onto his side, and wave frantically for the lifeguards my daughter had bravely summoned.
But what came next was the truly remarkable part of the story.
Every summer, there are thousands of men and women who sign up to line Australia’s beaches and keep watch.
Let’s make their job easier.
Obey their simple rules — swim between the flags, close to their help.
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