Bravery award for Henley Brook man involved in boat explosion rescue


Nick Power has been honoured with a Group Bravery Citation. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au   d451130e
Nick Power has been honoured with a Group Bravery Citation. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d451130e

EIGHT years on, Henley Brook resident Nick Power recalled the day a boat exploded just metres from him as if it was yesterday.

“It was a usual Saturday at the marina,” Mr Power said.

“All of a sudden we heard an explosion.

“The glass of our office shattered and the roof panel started shaking, we didn’t know what it was.

“Then we saw a boat on fire outside.”

Mr Power (30) has been honoured with a Group Bravery Citation in this year’s Australian Bravery Awards for his actions on that fateful day in May 2008.

The then-22-year-old was studying at Swinburne University in Hawthorn and was working at Pier 35 at Port Melbourne, launching and retrieving boats.

“It was very surreal, like a movie,” he said.

“We ran down towards where it was happening, which was part of our work area.

“At first I didn’t want to go into something that was going to end in danger for myself.

“But then the adrenaline kicked in.”

Mr Power admitted he thought there might be another explosion, but he had other priorities.

“There were lots of flames and debris, which was probably the hardest thing, and a fuel bowser there too.

“Two of the guys isolated the fuel valve, as the boat had been refuelling.

“As soon as we saw people in the water we knew we had to get them out.”

Sadly, the elderly parents of the captain – who were seated at the front of the boat – were killed instantly.

The captain’s wife and sister-in-law were seriously injured.

“I pulled the captain out of the water,” Mr Power said.

“Then I saw his wife.

“The lower part of her leg was completely shattered.

“I carried her to the river bank and stayed with her, comforting her until the ambulance came.”

Mr Power, now a plant manager at a Fortescue Metal Group site in the Pilbara, said an investigation into the explosion found a small amount of fuel had leaked into the hull of the boat while it was being refuelled.

“It was an old boat that had been redesigned a few times,” he said.

“When the captain turned on the boat, it ignited the fuel that had leaked.”

Mr Power also said his award came as a surprise.

“I was pretty taken aback,” he said.

“The other guys were too.

“I’m just a normal person who did what needed to be done, and I’m happy to represent the Swan Valley in receiving this award.”

Another Perth man, Daniel Cannon, received a Commendation for Brave Conduct for his role in rescuing a surfer at a remote beach in WA’s south.