Rescuers save couple in surging seas

Action stations: Rescuers Jarrah Brown and Albert Ward visit the scene of the near-drownings off Frankston pier. Picture: Yanni

Action stations: Rescuers Jarrah Brown and Albert Ward visit the scene of the near-drownings off Frankston pier. Picture: Yanni

A BALL game at Frankston beach almost had fatal consequences for a teenage couple last Tuesday afternoon.

Trying to retrieve the ball from the sea at about 2.45pm on Tuesday (6 October) an 18-year-old man and 15-year-old girl, both of Cranbourne, swam out in rough conditions but got into trouble in the rising waves and were in danger of being swept out further.

Luckily, help was at hand: two bystanders on the pier heard their cries for help, jumped in and swam out 30 metres to rescue them.

Albert Ward, 19, of Seaford, and Jarrah Brown, 23, of Glen Waverley, who were having a chat on the pier at the time, didn’t hesitate to brave the surging seas. 

“I was a bit shocked and not really sure what to do,” Mr Brown said. “We heard them calling for help about two-thirds of the way along from the start of the pier and about 30 metres out on the south side.

“It was very rough but we stripped off and dived in after them. I was trying to remember my Year 12 swimming training but instinct kicked in and we managed to get to them.

“The girl was panicking a bit; she was struggling as she had taken in a lot of water.

“[Alby] went to the guy and I went to the girl.”

Mr Ward – a New Zealander who moved to Seaford two months ago – had been swimming off the pier and was packing up to go home when he realised the couple were in desperate trouble.

“We jumped in as soon as we saw them and swam out,” he said. “I helped the guy and we pulled them towards shore.”

Both were barely conscious.

Wading in to assist, Frankston’s Senior Constable Peter Godsmark and Constable Sean Osburne took over the rescue. The man was not breathing and had no pulse. They gave initial CPR until paramedics arrived soon afterwards.

The couple were taken to Frankston hospital. The girl was released later that night but the man’s condition was said to be more serious.

Senior Constable Godsmark said Friday he would call doctors about the man’s condition. “I am told he is doing much better but is still in a serious condition.”

Police Sergeant Rod Hayne, who also attended the rescue scene, said he would recommend Brown and Ward for life-saving awards. “They took decisive action and may have prevented two lives being lost,” he said.

“The police officers did a great job, too.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 12 October 2015

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