2018 Bravery Awards - Mark Lush

4 October 2018

In August of this year, Debra and Kevin O’Meara were hiking along the Bibbulmun Track in our state’s south-west when they became trapped in a strong river current while trying to cross what they thought was a clear path through the Murray River.

With chest high water, Kevin became caught in a blackberry bush, and Debra in a paperbark tree.

Debra’s son Jamie was due to collect the couple around this time, however when he arrived the current was too strong for him to be able to attempt to rescue them, so he had to leave to get a phone signal and call emergency services.

Debra activated her EPIRB and this is when Mark, a Bunbury forester, arrived to rescue them. From the other side of the crossing Mark used a long rope to drag Kevin to safety, before using the same rope to pull Debra out. The pair had been in the water for almost an hour, and Kevin was deteriorating. Mark provided warm clothes for the and stayed with them while they waited for emergency services to arrive.

Mark remarks on the situation, ‘I felt a very human need to do something because no one else was there. I sized up the situation, thought about it logically and knew I had a good chance to help and got right into it.’

‘The whole experience has been quite surreal, I didn’t expect much attention, I just knew something needed to be done. I wasn’t planning to do anything particularly special, I just acted on instinct and managed to help.’

Both were exhausted and taken via ambulance to Peel Health Campus where they were treated for hypothermia, cuts and bruises.

Mark’s fast and brave actions saved both Kevin and Debra from the strong and unpredictable currents of the river.

He gives the following advice to those found in an emergency situation, ‘Have a good honest think to yourself about the dangers involved, be aware of what’s going on, always scanning your own situation and not blindly rushing in. Act quickly without putting yourself in danger and do what is necessary to save a life.’

The Royals are proud to award Mark the Gold Star Bravery Award for his commendable efforts in saving lives.

To nominate someone for next year’s Bravery Awards, please click on the link below.

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