Bravery award for rescuers
The Bristow Helicopters crew that rescued two boys stranded at sea off the Ningaloo Coast in April have been commended for their efforts and received a Royal Life Saving Bravery Award.
Matt Vermeulen, Gordon Watt, Tony Mobilia and Craig Potter spotted 18-year-old Jordan Geurts and his 12-year-old brother Tyson who had been adrift for more than 21 hours with no food, water or emergency supplies, winching them to safety and ensuring they were able to make it home.
The crew were tasked by the Western Australian Police to conduct a search about 5am for the boys. They dropped a self-locating data marker buoy, which tracks local currents and conducted 21/2 hours of visual search to no avail.
However, the data that was received from the buoy updated the optimal search location. The crew were the first ones to reach the new search area, locating the boys as soon as they arrived.
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Bristow search and rescue manager Gordon Watt said they happened to be the ones to find the boys, but there were many more people involved in the effort.
“Winning the award is a great recognition for a team effort. The reality is bravery is probably an overused word and we were just doing our job,” he said.
“There was lots of volunteer marine rescue guys, local boats, people combing the beach, and other helicopter assets, so it really was a group response and a fantastic effort by all involved.”
Charlene Geurts, the mother of the boys, said they were very grateful to all those involved.
“So many people from the community volunteered their time to search, the boys were slightly dehydrated when found, but other than that they were fine and we’re so thankful to everyone,” she said.
The crew were reunited with the boys for the first time at the Bravery Awards ceremony held in Perth on Wednesday, October 3.
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