The combined efforts of firefighters, police and teachers saved 17 year old student Daniel Stewart after an outdoor education field trip took a life threatening turn on Wednesday 4 May.
A group of Geraldton Senior College students were enjoying a field trip in Champion Bay when one student, Daniel Stewart, was washed against the rocks while bodyboarding – his arm becoming trapped between two boulders.
Unable to wrestle himself free, the teenager was submerged in the water with large swell conditions and waves crashing over him.
The call for assistance from Daniel’s teachers was received by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and Western Australia Police (WAPOL) at around 2.45pm, with Geraldton Police arriving first on the scene and attempting to free Daniel.
Geraldton Fire and Rescue Service firefighters soon arrived with an iron bar and wooden blocks to try and wedge and move one of the boulders.
Coordinating their efforts and in some cases being washed against the rocks themselves, firefighters and police were able to shift the large boulder and free the trapped teen’s arm, with Geraldton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service also arriving at the incident to provide further assistance.
Midwest Gascoyne Superintendent Kim Lambkin praised the efforts of responders.
“This was a successful cooperative effort involving DFES, WAPOL, St John Ambulance and the school teachers,” Kim said.
“Everyone jumped in to get the job done swiftly and effectively.
“Time was of the essence with this rescue and thanks to the quick thinking and great efforts of all involved we’ve had a happy outcome.”
Daniel Stewart was carried from the water to the waiting paramedics and taken by ambulance to hospital for assessment. He had been stuck and submerged in the heavy swell for approximately half an hour.
A presentation was held at the Geraldton Police Station on Wednesday 11 May, giving Daniel Stewart the opportunity to thank his rescuers.