Port Hedland locals recognised for Pretty Pool rescue

19 November 2020

Four Hedland residents were recently awarded Royal Life Saving Bravery awards in recognition of the courage and quick thinking they displayed during a dramatic rescue earlier this year.

The incident took place on Easter Saturday, at popular swimming spot Pretty Pool. Chris Mullan, local employee at BHP, and his young son Alex were swept out by a strong tide and were rapidly pulled into deeper water, where they were facing serious difficulty. Bystanders Jason Bott, James Owens, Murray Smith and Alex Budge saw the pair struggling in the water and rushed to help.

Jason and James were the first to reach them, with Jason holding onto the boy while James helped the father. While they attempted to swim the pair back to shore, the situation quickly deteriorated from a straightforward rescue into a battle against the strong outgoing tide.

Murray and Alex had also realised what was happening and didn’t hesitate to assist. Alex used Jason’s son’s boogieboard to paddle out to join them, and, with help from Jason, pulled the boy onto the board before swimming back to shore. Murray swam out to help James pull the man to shallow water, where they were eventually able to walk him in.

Jason Bott, James Owens, Murray Smith and TOPH Mayor Peter CarterThe whole rescue effort took around 20 minutes before everyone arrived safely back to shore. The joint efforts of everyone involved, all strangers to each other, led to a great outcome from what was a highly dangerous situation.

On Thursday 12th November, Jason, James and Murray attended a special presentation ceremony in Port Hedland to receive their awards. The ceremony was also attended by the Town of Port Hedland Mayor, Peter Carter (pictured right with Jason, James and Murray). They each received a Gold Medallion Bravery Award for their efforts.

RLSSWA CEO Peter Leaversuch and Alex BudgeAlex, who was in Perth at the time, was presented with her Gold Star Bravery Award at Royal Life Saving WA’s head office (pictured left with Royal Life Saving WA CEO Peter Leaversuch).

Mayor Peter Carter said “The Town is proud to support the 2020 Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards, recognising acts of life saving bravery in Hedland. Congratulations to those involved in responding to the Pretty Pool emergency on Easter Saturday this year, saving the lives of a man and his son.”

Greg Tate, Royal Life Saving WA’s General Manager of Community Development says the award recipients displayed exceptional courage, empathy, and initiative. “These individuals are an excellent example to all Western Australians and show how vitally important it is to obtain lifesaving skills. They’ve applied their skills to save another’s life, showing bravery and commitment in doing so, and deserve our highest recognition.”


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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