Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Strangers Turn to Heroes; Rescuer's Army Training Kicked In

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Strangers Turn to Heroes; Rescuer's Army Training Kicked In

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Hourigan

VIVIEN Miller didn't take her eyes off her two children for a second, frolicking in knee-deep water on Pippi Beach on Thursday.

When a large wave pushed them out further than she had first realised, she decided it was time for them to get out, with her daughter riding the next wave in.

Her nine-year-old son Robert though had disappeared.

Minutes of frantic searching the water went by, the large waves pushing Ms Miller back at every turn, so she began to scream for help.

"I thought the sea had swallowed him," she said.

"It felt like minutes and minutes of looking, and finally a head bobbed up and I could see him."

It was at that moment, that two complete strangers on the beach became her heroes.

Jake Scobie, an Iraq veteran visiting his mother in Yamba while on leave from the army, and Adriaan Den Herder, a visiting backpacker from the Netherlands, came together to bring the boy in.

Reunited with Robert on the weekend, Mr Scobie said he first noticed something going on, and saw Ms Miller pointing with Mr Den Herder out to sea, and immediately ran down the beach, stripping his clothes and searching the water.

"We spotted him out and the back and we both ran out into the surf," Mr Scobie said.

"We were only chest-deep in the water and it was hard to get out there.

"I was surprised; I guess my training kicked in and we had to make the decision whether to stay there or try and go right out, but we quickly knew having more people out there was going make it worse.

Mr Scobie said when they were within close range of Robert, they could see he was calm, but also quite tired.

"He looked like he was trying to stay afloat in the one spot, but wasn't trying to come forward," he said.

"So we just slowly started to encourage him to come forward bit by bit, and with our support, he started moving towards us, coming closer with each wave. …

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