A Wilson father and son have been awarded the Royal Lifesaving Gold Cross Bravery Award after saving a man from drowning while on holiday in Esperance in December 2015.
Trevor Abernethy and his son Rhys, a 15-year-old Cannington Leisureplex junior lifeguard club member, went for a swim on their bodyboards at the beach when they spotted Rich Cowlin being dragged away in a rip.
They both swam to Mr Cowlin and pulled him onto one of their boards and swam him back to shore.
Mr Cowlin was pulled onto the beach and was attended to by paramedics.
He made a full recovery.
Rhys said receiving the award, one of the highest recognitions of acts of bravery in water, was a shock.
“I honestly didn’t think it would get to the point it did where I would be getting an award for it,” he said.
“I actually don’t know how to describe it, it was a very special feeling.”
He said the situation made him aware of how important his lifesaving training was.
“It’s such a good skill to have because you never know when you’re going to need it,” he said.
“It’s made my passion for lifesaving even greater.
“I’ve been waiting until I can do the lifesaver course and then hopefully within the next month or so I’ll apply for a lifeguard job down at the local pool.”
Mr Cowan attended the medal ceremony and said he was eternally grateful to Rhys and Trevor Abernethy.