THE “outstanding” actions of a Hunter man who saved the life of an unconscious swimmer at south Newcastle Beach last year have been recognised at Government House.
Newcastle’s Jack Hollingworth received High Commendations from the Lieutenant Governor of NSW on Monday for his role in saving a man’s life in March, 2016.
Had Mr Hollingworth not seen the man in the surf and dragged him to shore that day, the result would have been a retrieval rather than a rescue and resuscitation, a Royal Life Saving NSW statement said.
Mr Hollingworth said he was honoured to receive the award, and being involved in the rescue had given him new appreciation for the men and women who did that day in, day out.
“It was pretty traumatic, I was pretty shaken up for a little bit,” Mr Hollingworth said.
“It has just made me really appreciate the people who do that every day of their life.”
Mr Hollingworth was heading in from a surf on March 7, 2016, when he saw something bobbing and rolling around in the waves at south Newcastle beach.
He dragged the unconscious swimmer, who was floating face down and unresponsive, to shore, with the help of another man who was passing by.
A crane operator from a nearby construction site saw the situation unfolding, and alerted his first aid officer and work health and safety advisor, David Milligan, who ran to help armed with resuscitation equipment.
“By the time I grabbed a lifeguard and we got back there, the safety officer had gotten down there with all the gear,” Mr Hollingworth said.
“We were lucky it was a quick response and we were able to get the necessary equipment on site.”
The men did CPR, and used a defibrillator and an oxygen resuscitator, to revive the man before the paramedics took over.
The Royal Life Saving NSW Awards were given to people in the state who showed initiative and applied key lifesaving skills in emergency situations – sometimes at risk to themselves.
While Mr Hollingworth said he had only learned CPR basics at high school, he encouraged everyone to learn first aid.
“It’s one of those things you might never have to use, but when an occasion arises it’s always handy to have,” he said.
“It could’ve gone two ways.
“Some people panic and freeze up, and others just jump into action. I was pretty pleased the adrenaline took over and that we got that result, that was awesome.”
The Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales, Hon. Thomas Bathurst, AC, presented the award to Mr Hollingworth.