Young lifeguard praised for saving toddler from drowning
THE quick-thinking actions of a Bundaberg lifeguard have been recognised after he saved a three-year-old boy from drowning at Kelly's Beach.
Sam Lester, 18, was the only lifeguard on duty at Kelly's Beach the day the young boy and his two siblings had been playing in the lagoon at Moneys Creek on Saturday, June 8.
From the surface neither the children or their dad, who had been watching on, knew about the sand bars in the lagoon with steep drop-offs.
Surf Life Saving Queensland's Bundaberg Lifeguard supervisor Julie Davis said the incident had happened very fast.
"The young boy stepped off the sandbank and fell into the deep water," she said.
"The dad yelled out that his boy was drowning.
"Sam then ran to the lagoon, dove in and brought the boy up - he didn't hesitate."
Mrs Davis said Sam had put the boy on oxygen, and continued to monitor the toddler until the ambulance arrived.
"Sam said the little boy had swallowed a little bit of water which he coughed up - the little fellow was quite distressed after that more than anything," she said.
Mrs Davis said the entire lifeguarding community was extremely proud of the way Sam carried out the rescue.
"This was his first year lifeguarding - he conducted himself very professionally and straight down the line," she said.
Surf Life Saving Queensland Wide Bay Capricorn Regional manager Craig Holden said he had no doubt Sam's actions had prevented a drowning from happening.
"It was great he was able to be alerted to the lagoon because his attention would have been on the beach," he said.
Mr Holden said this year was the first time Kelly's Beach had been patrolled in the winter months.
"This service is being provided as a trial service," he said.
"If Sam hadn't been there, there could have been a tragedy."
The young lifeguard was one of many members of the lifesaving movement to be recognised at the Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club's end of season dinner held at Rower's last night.
The highest accolade - the President's Trophy - was jointly won this year by two deserving winners, Wendy Johnston and Marty Cole.
Ms Johnstone is the club's youth development officer and has worked hard to attract youth members and retain current members.
Mr Cole was awarded for his tireless efforts during the floods performing rescues and working closely with all levels of emergency services.