Hedland girl awarded for saving life of toddler cousin

1 December 2021

In April this year, 10-year-old Zahara Farrell was at her grandparents’ house in South Hedland enjoying a get-together with family and friends when she noticed bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pool. Quick-thinking Zahara immediately put on her goggles and swam down to the bottom, where she found her three-year-old cousin Marshall who had drowned in the deep end and silently slipped below the surface. 

While still holding her breath, Zahara lifted Marshall above her head to try and hold his face out of the water and then swam as hard as she could to the edge, holding his legs to get him out of the pool. Family and friends began CPR on Marshall, who was unresponsive and had no pulse. He was rushed to hospital where he thankfully regained steady breathing and went on to make a full recovery. 

Zahara Farrell with her Bravery AwardZahara was recently awarded a Royal Life Saving Bravery Commendation for her tremendous efforts to rescue her young cousin. She was nominated for the award by Marshall’s mother Chloe. “What she did required a lot of courage, bravery and quick thinking for a 10-year-old, especially as she was so small and was able to get Marshall out all on her own,” said Chloe. 

“Zahara got Marshall out just in time before there was any damage to his brain. I was in shock at what had happened and scared about what was going to happen. We are so thankful that she saved his life just in time and today he is back to his happy cheeky self.”

“We call her Marshall’s little guardian angel. She is a smart girl and always wants to help. Myself, her uncle, and her mum and everyone else there was so proud of her.”

Zahara is a member of the Hedland Community Rescue Junior Lifeguard Club (CRJLC) and was presented with her Bravery Award at the club’s end of year pool party on Friday 26th November. The CRJLC was established by Royal Life Saving WA earlier this year in collaboration with the Polly Farmer Foundation’s Learning Club program. 

Participants of the CRJLC learn lifesaving skills and aquatic rescue techniques, along with leadership, teamwork and life skills. The club equips students with the skills to respond in an emergency – but no one could have predicted Zahara needing to use those skills so soon!

Congratulations to Zahara on her well-deserved award; we hope she and her family will once again enjoy time around the pool with friends this summer.

If you know someone who has responded to save, or try to save, someone’s life, we’d love to ensure they receive well-deserved recognition for their efforts at our annual Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards. You can complete a nomination form at the link below.

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