2018 Bravery Awards - Raphael Gabriel

6 November 2018

Lifeguard Raphael Gabriel recently received a Royal Life Saving Bravery Award for his efforts in saving the lives of three children, who got into trouble during a swimming session at Leisurepark Balga.

In February this year a group of primary school aged children from Emmanuel Christian College arrived at Leisurepark Balga for some before school swimming training.

All of the participating children had permission forms, signed by their parents, stating that they had achieved a certain level in swimming and could participate. Unfortunately, three African children and their parents had misunderstood the question on the form and thought the swimming level meant their age.

The school children started in the shallow end, but as they made their way into deeper water the three African children panicked, realising they were out of their depth. Although they had been holding kickboards, in their panic they let them go and began to climb on top of each other as they tried to stay afloat.

Lifeguard Raphael was on pool deck at the time and quickly realised the children were in trouble. He initiated a rescue by throwing a rescue tube to the closest child and instructing him to swim to the edge. Raphael then proceeded to dive into the pool to rescue the other two children.

Once close he instructed them to stay calm and grab the lane ropes. He then supported them and helped them make their way back to the shallow end of the 25m pool.

A supervisor at the pool stated that in undertaking the rescue Raphael represented himself, Leisurepark Balga, the City of Stirling and the entire industry in a calm and professional manner.
"He was able to recognise a situation involving multiple people, and quickly reacted to prevent a minor incident from turning into a major one."

The Royal Life Saving Society WA commends Raphael for his quick thinking and skilled approach to saving a life and congratulates him on his Gold Star Bravery Award.

If you would like to nominate someone for next year’s Bravery Awards, please click on the following link.

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