Two local teenagers have been declared heroes after rescuing a 19-year-old man from drowning in Lake Mulwala late yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, March 6.
Aquazone waterpark lifesavers, 17-year-old Grace Creenaune from Barooga and 15-year-old Erica Montgomery from St James were alerted to a man struggling in the water 20 metres behind the Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourist Information Centre after his 30-year-old counterpart called for help.
The men had previously purchased tickets to the waterpark before being refunded as it was believed they had been under the influence of alcohol and for safety reasons were not allowed in the water at the park.
After leaving the men appeared to have jumped from the Melbourne Street Bridge into Lake Mulwala on the western side closer to the Yarrawonga Mulwala Information Centre. The 30-year-old man was able to swim back to shore without trouble while the 19-year-old began to struggle.
The two girls then jumped the fence of the Melbourne Street Bridge and dived into the water with their floatation aid devices, assisting the man 20 metres to shore.
The teenagers stabilised the man in shallow water in case he had suffered any other injury until paramedics arrived prior to dragging him out.
Yarrawonga Leading Senior Constable Russell Welsh said it was a heroic and extraordinary effort by the girls who managed to save the man’s life.
“I believe if not for their courage and efforts, the incident could have resulted in a very different outcome” he said.
“We are looking to get the girls formally recognised for their efforts as they jumped into action without second thought and became, as they are rightly now being labeled, heroes.”
Both Erica and Grace said after the fact it is now overwhelming to think what they did but neither see themselves as heroes.
“Even if I didn’t have my lifesaving training I would have helped in some way. I think it’s just what anyone would have done,” Erica said.
“I don’t like the title of hero, like Erica said I think if anybody saw somebody struggling like that they would have tried to help, we were just in the right place at the right time,” Grace added.
More on the girls’ heroic effort s will appear in the Yarrawonga Chronicle next week.