Four-year-old awarded for saving a life

18 October 2019

The youngest recipient at our Royal Life Saving WA Bravery Awards this year was Jayce Vassiliou. At just four years old Jayce saved the life of his cousin Kortney when she got out of her depth while swimming in the pool at the Crown Hotel earlier this year.

Jayce with his cousin Kortney holding his Bravery Award at Kings ParkJayce’s mum Zoey says the incident happened while the two families were holidaying at the hotel. “The kids were playing in the indoor swimming pool and my sister-in-law put floaties on Kortney because she’s not a very confident swimmer. But while they were in the pool Kortney took her floaties off and was actually floating on a noodle. They were all right near the steps of the pool, but then Kortney went away from the steps and slipped off the noodle.”

Jayce quickly noticed that Kortney was struggling to stay above the water and couldn’t touch the bottom of the pool, so he knew he had to act! “Jayce keeps telling me he heard bubbles, and that’s when he’s seen that she couldn’t stay above the water anymore. He couldn’t swim, but he was on the steps of the pool – so Jayce leaned in and grabbed Kortney, then pulled her up above the water and brought her to the steps” says Zoey.

Jayce then called out to his grandmother for assistance. Thankfully apart from being extremely upset Kortney came out of the situation unharmed. Zoey says the whole incident was a real reminder for her of how quickly these things can happen. “There were 5 adults in the actual complex who were watching the children, so I thought I could step out for a minute and go and jump in the pool outside with my older nephew, and that’s when all this happened. You can have lots of parents around and things can still go wrong!”

The ability to quickly respond at such a young age is very special, and for Jayce’s brave actions he received a Royal Life Saving WA Gold Star Bravery Award. His mum says the whole family is super proud of Jayce! “We just didn’t think he was capable of doing such an incredible thing, and we just keep telling him how brave he was. We said to him ‘are you going to be a lifesaver’ and he said ‘no, I’m going to be a policeman!’”

You can read more about this year’s Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards winners, or nominate someone for an award at our 2020 Bravery Awards event, at the link below.

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