2008-2009 Recipients & Citations
Click on the recipient to view the citation.
- Recipient - Case Number
- ABBOTT, Grahame - 19
- ACE, Craig - 38
- ANDERSON, Gregory - 27
- BAILEY, Peter - 11
- BELLISSIMO, Alex - 42
- BERNARD, Brendan - 7
- BOYD, Gavin - 45
- CARTER, Michael - 35
- CLOAKE, Darren - 23
- COLLINS, Phillip - 52
- CONGRAM, Glenn - 26
- CRAWFORD, David - 41
- CROSSAN, Brett - 53
- CROSSAN, Louise - 54
- DELLA VEDOVA, Kyran - 56
- DUCKER, Paul - 18
- FINLAY, Kim - 25
- FLOOD, Gregory - 29
- FLOOD, Nerida - 32
- FORD, Scott - 6
- GAUNT, Andrew - 5
- GHOSN, David - 20
- GIBSON, Peter - 2
- GOSLING, Taylor -55
- GUNN, Ian - 44
- HAILSTONE, Scott - 47
- HODGE, Robert - 3
- HOWARD, Edward - 48
- LEARNED, Michael Rae - 34
- MAXWELL, Paul - 16
- MOORE, Dino - 36
- NEAL, Gregory - 14
- PACKHAM, Nicole - 24
- PAULL, Michael - 13
- PURCELL, John - 12
- REDDISH, James - 10
- RODGERS, Anthony - 1
- ROSKELL, Naomi - 57
- RYAN, Richard - 31
- SALWAY, Mark - 51
- SCHEMBRI, Curtis - 22
- SCOTT, Troy - 43
- SMITH, Anthony - 17
- SMITH, Brent - 4
- SMITH, Paul - 39
- STANDEN, Gregory - 37
- TAYLOR, Gregory - 30
- TAYLOR, Jenell - 33
- THOMPSON, Paul - 40
- TOBIN, Kian - 21
- TOOMEY, John - 8
- VEITCH, Anthony - 46
- VIDAL, David - 15
- WATERS, Mark - 9
- WHITEHEAD, Alexander - 49
- ZOSARS, Kelsie - 28
- Letters of Commendation
Senior Constable Anthony RODGERS, NSW Police Force
Senior Constable Peter GIBSON, NSW Police Force
for their actions at the scene of a house fire at Condobolin, NSW 2877.
At about 10.20pm on 2 August 1998 Senior Constables Rodgers and Gibson attended a house fire in Condobolin. Advised by the Fire Brigade that there was a man still inside, Senior Constables Rodgers and Gibson went into the house and commenced searching.
After being forced to exit the building due to smoke, the police officers re-entered the smoke filled building and eventually succeeded in locating the unconscious man. Despite being carried from the building by Senior Constables Rodgers and Gibson the man failed to respond to CPR and died early the following day.
Senior Firefighter Robert HODGE, NSW Fire Brigades
Senior Firefighter Brent SMITH, NSW Fire Brigades
Senior Constable Andrew Maxwell GAUNT, NSW Police Force
Constable Scott Andrew FORD, NSW Police Force
for their actions at the scene of a house fire at Bradbury, NSW 2560.
At about 11.20pm on 2 March 2006 Police and Fire Brigade officers arrived at a house fire at Bradbury, NSW 2560 where neighbours Mr. Craig Moloney and Mr. Paul Faulks, using garden hoses, were attempting to extinguish the flames.
Two persons were trapped inside the building. Senior Constable Gaunt and Constable Ford attempted entry at the rear of the building which was hampered by thick smoke until Senior Firefighter Smith (wearing breathing apparatus) forced an entry. Although faced with tremendous heat, smoke and zero visibility the three officers (Gaunt and Ford without breathing apparatus) succeeded in locating an unconscious woman and removed her to safety prior to administering first aid.
Senior Firefighter Hodge (wearing breathing apparatus) entered the front of the burning building. Locating an unconscious man in a rear bedroom he dragged the man through the house where Constable Ford helped him remove the man to safety.
Mr Craig Moloney and Mr Paul Faulks received the Society’s Letter of Commendation for their actions during this incident.
Mr Brendan BERNARD
for his actions at the scene of a town house fire at Homebush West, NSW 2140
At about 6am on 12 April 2004 at Homebush West, NSW 2140 Mr. Brendan Bernard awoke to find a neighbouring town house on fire. After phoning the fire brigade Mr. Bernard was advised that a young woman was trapped inside. After climbing onto the roof Mr Bernard punched open the glass bathroom window (cutting his right forearm in the process) and assisted the young woman to safety.
Mr. John TOOMEY
for the rescue of a woman from a villa fire at Mathoura, NSW 2710
At about 7.20pm on 16 November 2005 Mr Toomey became aware that an adjoining villa was on fire. Inside the burning villa was a 73 year old woman recovering from hip surgery.
Due to thick smoke Mr. Toomey was unable to penetrate the front of the villa so he entered by a side entrance. After being forced out due to smoke inhalation Mr. Toomey entered the burning villa a second time and although faced with zero visibility he succeeded in locating the unconscious woman and proceeded to drag her to safety.
Mr. Toomey was treated for smoke inhalation at Deniliquin hospital; unfortunately the woman with 60% third degree burns did not survive.
Retained Firefighter Mark WATERS
Deputy Captain James REDDISH
for their actions, as members of Fire Brigade Station 383 Morisset, in the rescue of a family from a home unit fire at Morisset, NSW 2264
At 2.15am on 22 November 2005 firefighters from Station 383 Morisset attended a home unit fire above a Pizza Shop at Morisset. With access to the unit via the rear stairway denied due to flames and smoke, firefighters were only able to approach the first floor unit via a shop awning.
While other members of Station 383 Morisset assisted a boy aged 14 and a girl aged 7 from the shop awning Retained Firefighter Waters (experiencing problems with smoke inhalation due to a dislodged SCBA mask) and without a partner, entered the unit and succeeded in locating the unconscious mother in a bedroom and her 16 year old daughter (not breathing) in another part of the unit. After removing the unconscious woman from the unit Retained Firefighter Waters with the assistance of a partner carried out a final search of the building before going to hospital with smoke inhalation.
On the shop awning Deputy Captain Reddish performed CPR on the young woman for approximately 2 minutes until breathing and pulse were detected. She was then lowered to a waiting ambulance.
Senior Constable Peter Bruce Patrick BAILEY
Senior Constable John Edward PURCELL
Senior Constable Michael David PAULL
Sergeant Gregory David NEAL
Sergeant David John VIDAL
Constable Paul Robert MAXWELL
Senior Constable Anthony James SMITH
for their actions at the scene of a home unit fire at Cabramatta, NSW 2166
Patrolling Cabramatta, at about 11.20pm on the 13 December 2005 Senior Constables Purcell and Bailey observed a third floor home unit fire. After calling for backup, they immediately went to the top floor running up the stairwell, alerting other residents in the process. Senior Constable Purcell forced entry into the unit and despite thick smoke and smoke haze, with assistance from Senior Constable Bailey, dragged an elderly burned and injured man outside the unit.
Backup police officers Senior Constable Paull, Sergeant Neal, Sergeant Vidal, Constable Maxwell and Senior Constable Smith then assisted in carrying the injured man down three flights of stairs to safety.
Even though the injured man indicated he was alone in the burning unit Senior Constables Purcell and Bailey re-entered the unit and despite heat and exploding glass checked all the rooms before exiting the burning unit.
Sergeant Paul Francis DUCKER
Leading Senior Constable Grahame Frederick ABBOTT
Senior Constable David John GHOSN
for their actions in the rescue of a man from the waters of the Hawkesbury River
(Bobbin Head Cowan Creek, NSW 2081)
At about 8pm on 10 January 2006 police were called to Bobbin Head where a man in the water had injured himself and was threatening further self harm. After negotiations from police officers in a boat had failed, Sergeant Ducker, Leading Senior Constable Abbott and Senior Constable Ghosn in full police uniform entered the water and despite a strong tide and a protracted struggle succeeded in getting the man into the boat.
The man was transported to hospital in a police van and later transferred to psychiatric care.
Kian TOBIN (age: 5)
for his actions following a motor vehicle accident near Bourke, NSW 2840
At about 5pm on 11 March 2006 Kian Tobin and his father were returning home after putting out some yabby nets south west of Bourke. Mr. Tobin, with Kian in the front passenger seat, lost control of the vehicle causing it to run off the road and roll. The accident occurred about 5 ½ km west of the Mitchell Highway intersection.
Kian, who had minor cuts and abrasions, was unable to arouse his father. Realizing his father was in urgent need of medical attention, Kian set out on an unsealed road dressed only in a swimming costume and shirt and with only one sandal. Without a map, despite being disorientated from the collision, Kian worked out the correct direction to walk to find help.
With no water, little shade and 35 degree plus temperatures Kian walked for over 2 hours, covering about 5 kilometres despite two large blisters on his bare foot from the loose rocky road surface.
Kian managed to flag down a car near the Mitchell Highway and directed them to the accident scene and waited patiently until the ambulance arrived. Unfortunately Mr. Tobin did not survive the accident.
Curtis Michael SCHEMBRI (age: 9)
for his actions in trying to prevent a motor vehicle collision on the M5 motorway
at Prestons, NSW 2170
At about 5.30pm on 1 May 2006 Curtis Schembri and his younger sister were rear seat passengers in a motor vehicle driven by their father along the M5 motorway. Taken ill suddenly, with his foot still on the accelerator, Mr. Schembri caused the vehicle to reach a speed of around 100km/h.
Although in heavy peak hour traffic Curtis, realising his father was unable to control the vehicle climbed into the front seat and steered the automobile until it collided with the metal guard rail and concrete barriers and came to rest.
Mr. Schembri and his two children were conveyed to Liverpool Hospital with Curtis in a neck brace.
Sergeant Darren John CLOAKE, NSW Police Force
for his actions at the scene of a house fire at Auburn, NSW 2144
At about 5 pm on 23 May 2006 whilst driving home after completing his rostered shift, Sergeant Cloake saw a weather board house on fire in Auburn. Residents informed him that there were still two occupants inside. Entering the burning house through a rear entrance, although the whole house was completely filled with smoke and hot gases, Sergeant Cloake quickly located the occupants and led them to safety.
Sergeant Cloake then re entered and despite dense smoke checked all rooms to ensure everyone had been evacuated.
Before the arrival of emergency services, Sergeant Cloake alerted residents in adjoining properties of the potential danger.
Ms Nicole PACKHAM
for her actions at the scene of a fire in a backyard at Engadine, NSW 2233
Around midnight on 28 May 2006, at a backyard barbeque at Engadine a bottle of methylated spirits caught alight and blew flaming liquid onto a man sitting on a folding chair less than a metre away. An off duty Ambulance Officer, Nicole Packham immediately took charge of the situation.
herself between the injured man and the barbeque, gave instructions for blankets, scissors and water before smothering the flames on the burning man and administering first aid.
The man was transported to hospital in a critical condition with third degree burns. He remained in hospital for seven weeks receiving several skin grafts and operations.
At the time of the accident Ms Packham was herself recovering from major injuries from a head on motor vehicle accident she was involved in several years earlier. Injured herself in the rescue attempt, she required ongoing treatment and surgery before returning to full duties as an ambulance officer.
Mr Kim FINLAY
for the rescue of a man from the surf at Queenscliff, NSW 2096
On the afternoon of 11 June 2006 a Czech tourist who was surfing at Queenscliff Beach, North Steyne became caught in a rip. With surf ranging between 5 to 7 metres and sets coming in quickly the man was about 500 metres offshore and was unable to return to the beach under his own strength. His raised arm was noticed by Mr. Finlay who was observing the beach from his home unit balcony.
In failing light, with high seas and strong wind weather conditions, Mr. Finlay donned his wet suit and took his surf board down to the beach. Despite Water Police on the scene unable to get close enough to the victim due to the rough seas it took Mr. Finlay about 5 minutes to paddle out to the man through the rough surf and another 15 minutes to return the swimmer safely to the shore.
The victim was met by Police and Ambulance on the beach but declined any medical treatment.
Ambulance Officer Glenn CONGRAM
Ambulance Officer Gregory ANDERSON
for their actions at the scene of a motor vehicle accident at Dolphin Point via Ulladulla, NSW 2539
At 12.50 am on 15 January 2006 Ambulance Officers Congram and Anderson of Ulladulla Ambulance Station were in attendance with other emergency services personnel at the scene of a motor vehicle accident at Dolphin’s Point. A vehicle had collided with a power pole trapping a male passenger in the wreckage. Although injured, the driver had been removed from the vehicle.
Due to the accident, power lines were arcing and an explosion occurred. Despite the danger of electrocution Ambulance Officers Congram and Anderson continued medical treatment to the injured man. A second explosion occurred this time with power lines down and in close proximity to the accident site however the ambulance officers, again continued medical treatment to the injured man.
After the power was turned off at 1.10 am emergency services were able to release the passenger from the vehicle at 1.40 pm when he was conveyed to hospital.
Ms Kelsie ZOSARS (age: 15)
for the rescue of 3 boys from a swimming hole at Urunga, NSW 2455
On Saturday 11 February Kelsie Zosars was at a local swimming hole near Urunga.
As she entered the water a branch from a large tree, on which three 13 year old boys were swinging from a rope, broke hitting the boys as they fell into the river. Only two boys surfaced, one covered in blood. Kelsie helped this boy to shore and gave him her shirt to stop the bleeding.
With the second boy still in the water, Kelsie then dived under the water where she found the third boy trapped by the foot under the broken branch. Kelsie freed his foot and brought him to the surface. At this point the third boy was panicking and thrashing about in the water. Kelsie also swam to this boy and was assisted by another bystander to bring him to shore.
Kelsie gave instructions to other children at the scene before running to the nearest house for help. Later in the day she called at each of the boy’s homes to enquire about their welfare.
Mr Gregory John FLOOD
Mr Gregory Michael TAYLOR
Mr Richard Leslie RYAN
Mrs Nerida FLOOD
Mrs Jenell TAYLOR
for their actions during a house fire at Shoalhaven Heads, NSW 2535
At about 1am on 26 June 2006 people at a social gathering noticed smoke rising in the sky. On investigation they found a house nearby on fire. The roof was intact but large flames could be seen inside.
Mr. Gregory Flood entered the rear of the house and found a male lying on the floor. He re entered the building with Mr. Richard Ryan and together they carried the badly burnt man from the building. After again re-entering the building through the rear of the house, Mr. Flood checked for possible further persons.
Mr. Flood joined Mr. Ryan and Mr. Gregory Taylor at the front of the house where all three entered the front rooms and checked for possible occupants until forced to retreat with the roof collapsing.
Mrs. Nerida Flood and Mrs. Jenell Taylor assisted in carrying the injured man from immediate danger. With no medical equipment available they administered first aid until emergency services arrived.
Mrs Michael Rae LEARNED
for her actions following a car accident at Coolatai, NSW 2402
On 13 July 2006 at about midnight Mrs Michael Rae Learned while travelling home on a country road with her two children aged 5 and 3 years, swerved to avoid a kangaroo and ended up in a ditch where the vehicle’s exhaust pipe ignited with the long grass and fire then consumed the vehicle.
Mrs Learned’s clothing caught fire as she rescued her children and she suffered 70% partial thickness burns to most of her body. The accident occurred in an isolated area. Still suffering from the accident Mrs. Learned carried her children for about two kilometres in darkness until she came upon a remote homestead. The homestead owner, Todd McMaster, succeeded in contacting emergency services and directed them to his property by UHF radio and flashing lights on his 4WD vehicle.
Mrs Learned and her children were conveyed by ambulance to Goondiwindi where they were airlifted to hospital.
Mr Todd McMaster has received the Society’s Letter of Commendation for his actions during this incident.
Mr Michael Hastings CARTER
Mr Dino Anthony MOORE
for their actions at the scene of a motor vehicle fire at Nyngan, NSW 2825
At about 2pm on 24 August 2006 near Nyngan a car and caravan ran off the road, hit a tree, and jack-knifed trapping a woman in the driver’s seat. The passenger, her husband, was injured. The front of the vehicle was badly damaged and a fire broke out.
Mr Carter, travelling behind, immediately went to their assistance. After helping the injured man from the crashed vehicle with the assistance of Mr Moore, Mr Carter then re entered the smoke filled vehicle and proceeded to pull the woman across the console and drag her out of the passenger side door. Again, in the latter stages he was assisted by Mr Moore.
The man and woman both suffered serious injuries which required hospitalisation.
Mr Gregory James STANDEN
Mr Craig Allan ACE
for the rescue of a man from a home unit fire at Lithgow, NSW 2790
At about 10.45am on 12 September 2006 a fire broke out in a second floor home unit in Main Street, Lithgow. Two neighbours, Mr Standen and Mr Ace immediately went to the unit. After forcing access to the unit, despite extreme heat and thick black smoke they located a man lying against the door of the unit. It was necessary to force the door further to gain access however once inside, the two men picked up the occupant and carried him out of the unit and down to the ground floor landing.
The occupant of the unit sustained upper airway burns and was transported by helicopter to Sydney.
Constable Paul SMITH, NSW Police Force
Constable Paul THOMPSON, NSW Police Force
Constable David James CRAWFORD, NSW Police Force
for their actions at the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident and fire at Padstow Heights, NSW 2211.
At about 4pm on 2 October 2006 Constables Smith and Thompson on duty, and Constable Crawford, off duty in a private vehicle, responded to a serious motor vehicle accident on Henry Lawson Drive, Padstow Heights. In a high speed, head on collision, the single woman driver died on impact and the other driver, a young male, was severely injured and trapped in his vehicle which had caught fire in the engine bay.
Several bystanders had unsuccessfully attempted to open the male driver’s door prior to the officers’ arrival. Constables Smith and Thompson tried unsuccessfully to extinguish the fire now inside the vehicle. Constable Crawford entered the rear of the vehicle and released the man’s seat belt whilst Constables Smith and Thompson entered the front area of the vehicle. Although parts of the victim’s body were on fire, together the three officers successfully removed the man from the vehicle through flames and smoke. Despite his skin being very slippery from his burns, they were able to drag the victim to a safe distance away from the burning wreck.
Mr Alex BELLISSIMO
Mr Troy Brendan SCOTT
for the rescue of a man from the surf at Collaroy Beach, NSW 2097
At about 6.10am on 27 October 2006 a man about 50 metres from the shore got into difficulties in the surf at Collaroy Beach. After being alerted to the man’s cries for help, Mr Bellissimo and Mr Scott, attending a fishing clinic nearby, immediately entered the water and swam out to him.
After reaching the exhausted man, Mr. Bellissimo and Mr. Scott laid him on his back and brought him back to the shore. Once on the beach because he had swallowed a lot of water and was barely conscious, he was placed in the recovery position whilst awaiting the ambulance.
Mr Ian Peter GUNN
for the attempted rescue of a man from the surf at Kianga Beach, NSW 2546
At about 2.45pm on 23 November 2006 Mr Gunn and his wife took some visiting English friends to Kianga Beach. The Englishman entered the surf and got caught in a rip taking him off shore. Realizing his friend was in trouble Mr Gunn entered the water to go after his friend who was now about 300 metres from the shore. When he reached his friend he appeared to be totally exhausted.
Mr Gunn began towing the man, swimming with the rip and trying to get him to float his legs instead of letting them drop. A number of times Mr Gunn lost his grip and had to dive down to bring the man back to the surface. Each time the weight of the man pulled Mr Gunn under water also. Finally the man dropped so far below the surface that Mr Gunn was unable to see him. At this point Mr Gunn was struggling to stay afloat himself and only just made it back to the shore in a state of exhaustion assisted to the beach by his wife who ran into the waist deep water.
The man’s body was located at about 3.20pm by emergency services using a Jet Ski. He was unable to be resuscitated.
Mr Gavin BOYD
Mr Anthony VEITCH
for the rescue of two girls from the surf at Manning Point, NSW 2430
While swimming at Manning Point on 26 November 2006 two girls started being swept out to sea and soon signalled for help. Mr Boyd ran to his nearby home to get his surf board and also to contact his friend Mr Veitch. Returning to the beach, Mr Boyd made his way through the waves and at the same time Mr Veitch arrived at the beach and started swimming out.
Both girls were totally exhausted and struggling to stay afloat. Mr Veitch swam to the nearest girl and kept her afloat whilst Mr Boyd paddled out to the other girl. Mr Boyd took that girl to the shore and then returned to take the other girl from Mr Veitch who then swam back to the shore himself.
Mr Scott HAILSTONE
Mr Edward HOWARD
for the rescue of a woman from a vehicle on fire after crashing over an embankment at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW 2795
At about 3.15pm on 5 December 2006 a vehicle left the picnic area at Mount Panorama. It careered about 150 metres down the hill and after crashing, a container of petrol in the vehicle was ignited by a cigarette and the car caught alight.
Although she had exited the vehicle, the woman collapsed nearby as her vehicle became engulfed in flames. With the grass on the hillside on fire Mr Hailstone and Mr Howard went down the hill to the woman’s assistance. She was conscious but failed to respond to them. Flames were coming out of the car windows and as the woman seemed unable to help herself, the two men picked her up and carried her about 100 metres up Mount Panorama to safety.
At the time of the accident the wind had picked up and was blowing up Mount Panorama which caused the fire to spread fast and burnt about half a hectare of grass. The car was destroyed by the fire and the woman was admitted to hospital.
Alexander WHITEHEAD (age: 12)
for the rescue of a woman who was drowning at Shaws Bay in Ballina 2478
At about 10.30am on the morning of 19 January 2007 Alexander, in an inflatable dinghy, went to the aid of an unconscious woman in the water at Shaw Bay, East Ballina. With the assistance of a man in the water, who had attracted his attention, Alexander managed to reach the woman and hold her head above water. With the man holding the woman and the dinghy, between them they managed to reach the shore where the man (subsequently identified as the woman’s husband) performed Expired Air Resuscitation until the ambulance arrived.
The woman had suffered an epileptic seizure from which she subsequently recovered.
Ms Christine JOHNSON
for the rescue of an elderly woman from a house fire at Arncliffe NSW 2205
At about 11am on 1 February 2007 a fire broke out in a house at Arncliffe. Observing that an elderly woman had entered the burning house and did not reappear, Ms Johnson, Principal of the school directly opposite, entered the building on her hands and knees. Grabbing the completely disorientated elderly woman, Ms Johnson guided her through the dense smoke, crawling up the hallway until they reached the front door and safety.
The lounge room area was completely destroyed by the fire and smoke. Fire Officers informed Police that this fire was one of the hottest fires they had encountered.
Mr Mark David SALWAY
for his actions in the rescue of a man from the surf at North Wollongong NSW 2500
On the afternoon of 17 February 2007 a man entered the surf at Puckey’s Beach, North Wollongong, got caught in a rip and was dragged approximately 100 metres out to sea.
Noticing the man was in distress Mr Salway, who had been jogging along the beach, obtained a body board from some children on the beach and swam out to the man. The man was in a distressed and exhausted state when Mr Salway reached him. Mr Salway helped him onto the board and stayed with him until Surf Life Savers reached them with a rescue board and returned the man safely to the beach.
Sea conditions were described as, “very choppy with a strong rip and large groups of blue bottles in the water”.
Mr Phillip John COLLINS
for his actions at the scene of a heavy vehicle road accident at Tumut NSW 2720
At about 11.00 am on 24 February 2007 a timber truck driver lost control of his vehicle whilst negotiating a bend on Bombowlee Creek Road, Tumut. The vehicle rolled onto the driver’s side and ended up down an embankment. The driver and his 14 year old son were trapped within the vehicle which caught fire shortly after impact.
Mr Gordon Booby, in a water truck, and Mr Collins responded to the accident. Despite the fire in the truck cabin, fuelled by the pierced fuel tank, Mr Collins climbed to the cabin area and after obtaining a large piece of timber pried the door open and assisted the boy, who had serious injuries to his arm, from the cabin and took him across to the other side of the road.
Mr Collins returned to the burning cabin and although he tried desperately to help the driver, he was unable to pull him free as his legs were trapped under the crushed console.
During these actions Mr Booby had positioned his water truck next to the crashed vehicle and was attempting to extinguish the fire.
Unfortunately despite the rescue attempts of Mr Collins and Mr Booby, the fire engulfed the cabin of the prime mover resulting in the death of the driver.
Mr Gordon John Booby has received the Society’s Letter of Commendation for his actions during this incident.
Constable Brett James CROSSAN
Constable Louise Anne CROSSAN
for their actions during an attempted surf rescue at Byron Bay, NSW 2481
Responding to a report that a swimmer was in trouble at Belongil Beach, Byron Bay at 4.15pm on 6 March 2007, Constables Brett Crossan and Louise Crossan entered the water immediately on reaching the beach.
The swimmer, a 26 year old Japanese national woman, had been swimming with her sister and a male friend when she was dragged by a strong undertow into a seaweed filled gutter, estimated as being 20 metres long and 30 metres wide with depth being about chest level.
In heavy seas with overcast conditions, intense rain and a strong active rip pushing into the gutter the officers searched for the woman in these treacherous conditions for approximated 20 minutes until the arrival of other emergency services including surf life savers and two rotary wing aircraft.
Conditions were so extreme that a search of the gutter could not be continued by surf life saving craft due to propellers being fouled by the seaweed. Unfortunately after extensive searching over several days, the woman was not located and presumed drowned.
Mr Taylor GOSLING
Mr Kyran DELLA VEDOVA
for the rescue of a man from the surf at Woonona Beach, Bulli NSW 2516
On 31 March 2007 at about 9.30am, riding their bikes near Woonona Beach, Mr Gosling and Mr Della Vedova were approached by a man who alerted them to a person floating in the surf. The men ran about 100 metres to the beach where they removed some of their clothing and both entered the water, swimming about 40 -50 metres across a deep channel to reach the unconscious swimmer. The man was face down, wearing a wetsuit and helmet. His surfboard was still attached. Aware that the man may have spinal injuries Mr Gosling and Mr Della Vedova carefully rolled him over, taking care to support his neck. It took several minutes to swim with the unconscious man back to the beach.
Once on the beach, the two rescuers took control by placing the man in the recovery position before a lifeguard arrived on a quad bike with oxygen. Mr Gosling and Mr Della Vedova assisted Ambulance personnel in removing the man from the beach.
Ms Naomi ROSKELL
for the rescue of 7 persons trapped in floodwaters at New Lambton NSW 2305
On Friday 8 June 2007 the coastal city of Newcastle, New South Wales and the adjacent Hunter Valley and adjoining Central Coast experienced continuous gale force winds and torrential rain from prevailing severe low pressure systems for an extended period of almost 24 hours. In addition to the severe weather at sea with 18-20 metre swells with high winds, there were numerous acute emergency situations arising throughout the city due to extensive floodwaters (often containing sewage), falling trees and downed power lines.
Ms Roskell noticed that a number of persons had been caught by floodwaters and were trapped in their cars. Responding to this emergency situation on the evening of 8 June 2007, Ms Roskell demanded assistance from the attendant at a service station who, at that time had the doors locked. She obtained 2 lengths of rope from the service station and after attaching one end to a light pole and the other to her waist, she then entered the chest deep floodwaters.
She made her way to the three people who were trapped on the roof of their car. She assisted these people to the safety of the service station. Ms Roskell then returned to the raging floodwaters and assisted an elderly male who was clinging to the bull bar of a 4 wheel drive vehicle. This male was wearing gum boots filled with water and was in danger of being swept away. Ms Roskell managed to assist him to the safety of the service station.
Finally, Ms Roskell again entered the floodwaters and assisted three stranded children back through the floodwaters to the service station.
Probationary Constable Craig James Smith
Gordon John Booby