Lifesaving act of bravery rewarded

29 January 2018

Three commercial crayfishermen were awarded Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards for rescuing five fishermen on the Abrolhos Islands in 2017.

Jesse and Sam Liddon and Jack Cox rescued the fishermen, whose 6.5m boat overturned in huge seas, knocking one crew member unconscious. The fishermen had spent two hours in the water after unsuccessfully trying to activate their EPIRB device and flares; no one aware of their location.

By chance, Jesse, Sam and Jack, who were on board a fishing boat, spotted the group in the water and navigated through five-metre waves to pull them to safety.

Jesse said he spotted the overturned boat far off in the distance and knew there was a problem when one of the crew dived into the water and started waving a life jacket.

“I said, ‘We have to go and pick them up.’

“It was quite a big swell and when the tide changed they would have been washed back through the surf."

One of the men rescued, Hamish Beck, said although he and his mates were experienced fishermen, they had misjudged the dangerous conditions.

“A set of waves came through and we were caught closer in than we should have been,” Hamish said. “The boat succumbed and rolled over by the fourth wave.”

He said the actions of the three men saved their lives.

“Definitely two of us could have perished out there that day — it could have been a lot worse.

“We were all injured in some way and we were concerned we could have been stuck there for the night, which would have been really rough.”

Hamish said even experienced boaties could find themselves in disastrous situations if they let their guard down.

“Complacency sets in a little bit when you’re used to doing the same thing over and over, so just maintain vigilance and buy really good life jackets,” he said.

Do you know someone who's saved a life? Why not nominate them for a bravery award at the link below?

Explore more button