Hero couple awarded for Rockingham Jetty rescue

30 October 2020

A Rockingham couple has received Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards for rescuing a man at the Palm Beach Jetty. A relaxing trip to walk their dog didn’t go quite as planned for Joanne White and Ben Cox on a cold morning back in August, when they ended up rescuing Allan Godley following a sudden medical incident.

Joanne, Ben and Allan at the Palm Beach Jetty in RockinghamAllan was visiting the jetty to sail his remote-control yacht and says initially all was smooth sailing. “Ben and Jo put their heads over the handrail and started chatting to me about the boat. The last I remember is Ben asking ‘what sort of range can you get with that?’ and I remember replying that I wasn’t too sure because I didn’t want to risk losing it!”

Soon after the conversation ended Joanne heard a splash. Allan had suffered a seizure and fallen into the water, hitting his head on the railing on the way down. Joanne responded immediately. “I ran down to save him, got into the water and hoisted him up onto my shoulders, pushing him up so that another man could pull him out of the water.” While Joanne raced into the water Ben called triple zero and alerted other bystanders so that they could also help.

Allan says his seizure came with no warning and he will be forever grateful to Joanne and Ben for saving his life. “Basically I am as thankful as you could get, if it was not for them I would not be here today as nobody else would have seen me. Jo said another 10 seconds and I was a goner.” Following the incident Allan discovered he had a brain tumour which he has since begun treatment for.Friends and family gathering with Ben, Joanne and Allan at their Bravery Award presentation in Rockingham

After removing Allan from the water Joanne placed him in the recovery position and she and Ben monitored him until emergency services arrived. Since then Allan says Ben and himself have become good friends. “We have caught up 2-3 times since and they are very nice people. It has certainly created a friendship for ever. I also gave them one of my Aerial framed pictures as a present from when I had my own Professional Drone Company (Creative Drone Worx) prior to COVID-19.” Joanne says she would recommend that everyone have aquatic rescue training, as it certainly prepared her to save Allan’s life. 

After Allan was taken away by paramedics Ben and Joanne even remained in the area watching Allan's remote control yacht, which was still out in the ocean, and retrieved it from several kilometres away when it returned to shore!

For their selfless and immediate actions Joanne received a Gold Medallion and Ben a Gold Star Royal Life Saving Bravery Award, with many family and friends attending the presentation to congratulate them. For Ben the Gold Star will join an array of other medals he has received in his life so far, including an Olympic Gold Medal for basketball at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, and an Order of Australia Medal which followed that achievement! Their Bravery Awards were presented by City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels at the Palm Beach Jetty where the incident took place. We congratulate them for their outstanding actions!

Do you know someone who has responded in an emergency to save a life? Nominate them for a Royal Life Saving Bravery Award at the link below.

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