‘Heroic’ teenage lifesavers praised after rescuing drowning man from Lake Mulwala
Two “heroic” teenage lifeguards will be nominated for bravery awards after rescuing a man who was drowning at Yarrawonga, in northern Victoria.
Grace Creenaune, 17 and Erica Montgomery, 15 were on duty working as lifeguards at the local water park on Tuesday, when two men, aged 19 and 30, bought tickets to go into the park.
Staff suspected the men had been drinking and they were asked to leave.
The pair were given a refund and left quietly crossing the road to Lake Mulwala where they jumped into the water off the Belmore Street bridge.
They were swimming out of sight of the staff at the pool when one of the men got into trouble.
So his friend ran for help, straight back to the pool they had been asked to leave.
Grace said that was when their training kicked in.
“He was probably about 20 metres out, and probably when we were within five metres of him, he was completely submerged under the water,” Grace said.
“Once we got to him he was unconscious and we put a flotation [device]under his head so he didn’t float back under and we pulled him back into shore.”
A scary experience
The pair had only been lifeguards for a short period of time. Erica said it was a “pretty intense” experience.
“Doing the training … you never thought you would have to get in the water and save someone like that,” she said.
“Looking back on it now it’s a lot scarier than it was at the time.”
The girls’ boss, Deb North, said she was extremely proud of them, saying they had put themselves in danger.
“There is no doubt that had they not had the training and the response time that they did that man would not have survived. There’s no doubt about it,” she said.
“I’m incredibly grateful and incredibly proud.”
Leading Senior Constable Russell Welsh, of Victoria Police, said the men admitted they had been drinking before they went into the water and praised the teenage lifesavers.
“Their efforts were superb,” he said.
“We certainly want them to be recognised for what they have done. And hopefully they’ll be given some sort of recognition or reward for their actions.
“I believe they were heroic and their quick-thinking has saved this man’s life.”
The teenage lifeguards were humble about the rescue.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a hero or anything, it was just something that had to be done and I wanted to help out,” Erica said.
“We’re trained to do that. We’ve just done what we’ve been trained to do,” Grace said.
And Erica had this simple reminder for anyone who plans to go swimming.
“Alcohol and water just doesn’t go together. It’s not worth the risk,” she said.