Shark attack rescuers among award heroes | Northern Beaches Review

When a great white shark attacked and then circled another surfer, Jess Woolhouse was one of three men who paddled directly towards the five-meter predator.

It was an act of courage off the coast of Western Australia that saved the life of injured surfer Phil Mummert, 28. It also earned the three rescuers wide recognition.

They are among 49 people from across the country to receive Australian Bravery Medals, Commendations and Citations for putting themselves at risk to protect others.

On July 31, 2020, Mr Woolhouse, along with his best friend, Perth priest Liam Ryan, and fellow surfer Alex Oliver helped the injured surfer onto a longboard and dragged him 100 yards to shore.

Mr. Woolhouse told AAP that it was only after the group brought Mr. Mummert ashore that they realized how dire the situation had been.

Others rushed to help and stem the bleeding from a deep bite wound on Mr. Mummert’s thigh.

“To be perfectly honest, we had no idea,” Mr Woolhouse recalled of the incident at Bunker Bay, off the southwest coast of Western Australia.

“He wasn’t missing any limbs, so that was a start.

“I don’t really remember seeing any blood. There must have been a significant amount there.”

Mr Mummert, whose surfboard was ripped in half in the attack, made a full recovery after emergency surgery.

Mr Woolhouse said many other people played a role in saving the surfer’s life. He described his own actions as instinctive and adrenaline fueled.

“When you have kids, when you have a business, you become pretty good at dealing with emergencies,” he told AAP.

“Seeing someone helpless with a five meter shark trying to gnaw on them, I don’t think there’s any other choice… just go for it.”

It took a while for Mr Woolhouse, a father of three, to feel comfortable in the water again, but over time the fear faded. The ocean has once again become a sanctuary.

Last year, on the anniversary of the attack, Mr Woolhouse traveled to Bunker Bay and caught a few waves on his own.

“It was something I had to do for myself,” he said.

The list of bravery award recipients includes people who have saved others from traffic accidents, often with the added threat of fuel and fire. Others have rescued occupants from burning houses or other life-threatening situations. Several recipients faced armed intruders.

“No one is looking to be brave. No one really knows how, when faced with a dangerous situation, they will act. The men and women we celebrate today acted with courage,” Governor General David Hurley said in a statement on Tuesday. communicated. .

Australian Associated Press

Comments are closed.