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Hero Reef Sharks Recognised

A GROUP of Cairns Water Polo players have been recognised for their efforts in helping save the life of a young girl in Townsville.

Christine Finlay of Palm Cove has nominated Cairns Water Polo players Emily Law, Rachel Roberts, Valerie Noble, Courtney van Putten, Lee Zahner and Shelley Burston for a Pride of Australia Medal.

The award recognises the extraordinary achievements of ordinary Australians.

“They saved the life of a young girl who had drowned while celebrating her birthday at Northern Beaches Leisure Centre in Townsville,” Ms Finlay said in her nomination.

The women, all members of Cairns Reef Sharks’ women’s team, were at the Queensland Country Water Polo Championships in February when they heard the child’s father and others screaming.

“The girls, mostly health professionals, raced to the aid of the young girl and worked frantically to save this young girl’s life,” Ms Finlay said.

“It was touch and go, but with skill and precision, they resuscitated the young girl.

“They also assisted in calming Mum and Dad and debriefing staff,” she said. “Their concern was not for themselves, but for the child and the people around them suffering.

“They handled themselves with great professionalism in and out of the pool. I’m so proud of them.”

Six-year-old Sarah Buxton had reportedly become tangled in a crowd of children and sank to the bottom of the pool before she was pulled from the water by a lifeguard who started CPR before the water polo players took over.

“We were lucky to have paediatric doctors, nurses and physios on our team,” said Courtney van Putten.

The girl made a full recovery. Nominations for Pride of Australia have now closed.


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