On the beach

Sean Thomson.
Sean Thomson.

The 23-year-old City of Stirling employee rushed to the man’s aid when he heard his screams after he fell into a blue hole in the reef while searching for abalone.

Mr Thomson said the man was wearing a tracksuit, jumper and shoes that meant he struggled to stay above the surface and eventually lost consciousness and sank to the ocean floor.

‘I pulled my board off the roof and I paddled out to where I saw him and he had already sunk to the bottom,’ Mr Thomson said.

The third-year Curtin law and commerce student said by the time he reached the man, he had stopped breathing completely.

‘So I jumped off my board to swim down and get him and I swam back to the surface, did a couple of breaths into his mouth and got him onto the board and paddled him onto the shore and lay him on the beach,’ he said. ‘I went to the car and got our oxygen bottle out and he still wasn’t breathing so I started CPR on him for about a minute-and-a-half and then he started breathing again.’

Mr Thomson called an ambulance, which rushed the fisherman to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital where he made a full recovery.

Royal Life Saving WA chief executive Alex McKenziee praised Mr Thomson for his quick response.

‘Sean’s swift and direct lifesaving actions saved the life of the abalone fisherman,’ Mr McKenziee said.

Mr Thomson said he felt uncomfortable receiving an individual award for what he had done but said he was glad to see the beach lifeguards recognised for their work.

‘I never thought I’d be recognised for something like that because it’s my job down there and I enjoy my job so much’