Bravery award for sea rescue vollies

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Albany Sea Rescue's Chris Johns, Jason Shepherd and Timothy Wilkinson have received the Group Bravery Citation from Australian Honours and Awards office.
Camera IconAlbany Sea Rescue's Chris Johns, Jason Shepherd and Timothy Wilkinson have received the Group Bravery Citation from Australian Honours and Awards office. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

They would not call it an act of bravery, but the efforts of three Albany Sea Rescue volunteers one night in October 2015 have earned them recognition at a national level.

Albany Sea Rescue Squad co-ordinator Chris Johns said he and his teammates, Jason Shepherd and Timothy Wilkinson, were only doing their jobs when they pulled a woman from the water near the Blowholes three years ago.

That night, they were called by local police to find a missing person who was understood to have jumped into the water.

Despite challenging conditions, they navigated their boat in pitch blackness to reach the location in time to pull the badly injured woman into their boat.

“We were going 80km an hour and we were getting thumped,” he said.

“Once we got her into the boat I could see how graphic the injury had been.

“I personally thought she was not going to make it.”

After administering first aid, Mr Johns said the woman became agitated and physical.

She refused treatment and threatened to jump off the boat.

“She asked me why I saved her and I told her it’s because she’s worth it,” he said.

“I just braced her the whole way home to try to lessen the impacts from the waves and tried to calm her down.

“We were so pleased to get her back alive.”

Mr Johns said though he remembered the incident clearly, he did not think what they did that night was any different from past rescue operations.

“We were just doing our job. We would have done this for anyone,” he said.

Governor-General Peter Cosgrove awarded the trio a Group Bravery Citation as part of today’s Australian Bravery Awards.

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