Young Kimberley boy rescues 6yo cousin from river

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Fitzroy Crossing 6765
Bravery award for firefighter who saved drowning teens
(Supplied: Katrina Cherel) ABC Kimberley

By Oliver Gordon and Erin Parke


January 11, 2018 07:48:44

Leithan Till learnt his rescue techniques during school swimming lessons.
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A nine-year-old boy from a remote Kimberley community could be in line for bravery honours after rescuing his six-year-old cousin from a fast-moving river.Jonathan Till fell into the river from a tree.Adult relatives, who were about 50 metres away, said they started to panic when the young boy started to be swept downstream.Margaret Till said the child’s cousin, Leithan Till, nine, ran along the bank before jumping in to rescue Jonathan.”[Jonathan] was floating down the river and we couldn’t run from where we were sitting because we were so far away,” Ms Till said.She said if Leithan had not taken the initiative, it was likely his young cousin would have been swept away.”He jumped in and pulled him out from the river, and we were all shaking because we were thinking that he was going to drown,” Ms Till said. (Supplied: Katrina Cherel)
Family proud after rescueLeithan’s adoptive mother Katrina Cherel said she was proud of Leithan, whose birth mother was killed in a car crash.”I felt really proud and gave him a hug and told him how proud I am of him,” she said.Ms Cherel said recent swimming lessons at the Fitzroy Crossing pool gave Leithan the confidence to perform the rescue.”When we asked him about [the rescue], he said he learnt about it when they were doing swimming lessons at school,” she said.”They learn how to not panic when they’re drowning.”[Leithan] said he was a bit scared to save him, but having the lessons and knowledge that he learned … he felt brave enough to save his cousin.”Lifesaving lessons worth itRoyal Lifesaving Association WA spokeswoman Lauren Nimmo said the incident highlighted the importance of incorporating lifesaving programs into school curricula. “When [Muludja Remote Community School] book their Swim and Survive lessons it costs them a fortune to transport [students] in and out [of town],” she said. (Supplied: Katrina Cherel)
“We’re pleased to see such a young boy, particularly in such a remote part of WA, using the skills he learnt as part of his swimming and water safety lessons,” she said.The Swim and Survive program is a free program that has been running at Fitzroy Crossing pool since 2009, which teaches children how to swim safely in surrounding waterways.Leithan’s instructor Adele Caporn said news of the rescue highlighted the importance of teaching water safety to young children who attended remote schools. “But at the end of the day, if it’s going to save someone’s life, then what’s money?”Ms Nimmo highlighted the fact that Royal Lifesaving Association WA has a bravery award open to young students, and encouraged those who witnessed the event to nominate the young hero.”It really is an amazing feat, particularly for a boy so young,” she said. Photo:
Leithan Till may be nominated for a bravery award. Photo:
Katrina Cherel (R) is proud of Leithan’s rescue efforts.