‘It was precarious’: Teen surf lifesaving competitor hailed a hero after dramatic first rescue

(Supplied: Audience submitted.)
One of the patients had broken an ankle. I’ve seen him progress through the ranks of the juniors to a really effective open lifesaver,” he said. Photo:
Surf Life Saving’s volunteer director of training Mike Stevens (right) recently trained Mitchell Knight (left) in inflatable rescue boat (IRB) operations. “He performed his job admirably.”Mr Stevens said the elderly couple were recovering well at Tully Base Hospital. The poor condition of the couple and the tough terrain meant they needed to be flown out by helicopter.For Mitchell, that meant yet another challenge to navigate on water.”At this stage the chopper’s coming in really close,” Mitchell recalled.”The rotor wash is just insane, the boat’s going all over the place.”But he remained composed and in control of the boat while the couple were winched to safety. “We’ve got the training for that and I’m very proud of Mitchell. They were injured and paramedics could not get to them.The 17-year-old piloted the boat that got rescue crews to the scene.”I’ve never been in this situation before but the training kicked in,” Mitchell said.”We didn’t have any doubts, we just did what we had to do.”Simple job turns ‘precarious’ for teen lifesaverMike Stevens, Surf Life Saving’s volunteer director of training in far north Queensland, received the call and knew Mitchell was up to the job. He then ferried the paramedics back to their vehicles.Mitchell did not win a race at the carnival but did chalk up his first successful rescue. It was the culmination of years of training after joining the nippers as a 10-year-old.”Even from the nippers, we’ve been taught that it’s all about patrolling the beach and being able to have those life skills to be able to rescue someone in extreme situations or even just someone that’s got a cut,” he said.”I felt pretty proud to go and rescue someone in need and I’m just glad I had the training that I did.”Mr Stevens hailed the coordinated effort from all the emergency services involved but had special praise for the young hero from Port Douglas. “I’ve actually trained him as a driver recently and knew his capabilities, so we went off to investigate,” Mr Stevens said.The two-man crew took an inflatable rescue boat five kilometres south to Lugger Bay to meet the other emergency services stranded by the terrain.The boat was able to round the headland but Mr Stevens said the job was far from straightforward.”All the waves were crashing into the rocks so it made it difficult, but we found an alcove so that I could go up the rocks to the patients,” he said.”We thought it would be quite a simple job but it turned into quite a precarious one because of where the patients were located.”Mr Stevens stayed with the patients while Mitchell returned to relay and ferry back three paramedics. A teenage surf lifesaving competitor is being hailed a hero for his role in a dramatic airlift rescue in far north Queensland.Mitchell Knight was helping pack up a carnival on Saturday evening when he got the call that there was a real life emergency.An elderly couple had fallen 20 metres down rocks from a walking trail at Lugger Bay south of Mission Beach.
ABC Far North

By

Brendan Mounter

Updated

July 22, 2018 15:01:42

Photo:
Mitchell Knight and Mike Stevens on board the boat in which they conducted the rescue. (Supplied: Audience submitted)
Map:
Mission Beach 4852