Jermaine saves man from watery grave
By Andy Parks
JERMAINE BOLT is a hero looking for a job. Last week he saved a man's life at sea while undertaking training in the maritime industry, and now he has a taste for life at sea.
The 22-year-old from Alstonville dragged a drowning man from the water while taking part in a 10-day training exercise aboard the 'Tribal Warrior'. The ship is a 100-year-old former Torres Strait pearling lugger which now gives maritime experience to young indigenous people.
The crew was sailing from Iluka to the Gold Coast. Jermaine said they had dropped sails and were 'steaming' in Runaway Bay, near Southport when the skipper spotted a tinny going around in circles.
It is believed the driver of the tinny had swerved to avoid colliding with a jet ski and had fallen overboard.
"The skipper shouted 'man overboard'. We couldn't see him (the tinny driver) at the time but assumed that he must be in the water sinking. The skipper told me to 'get in there now', so I jumped in fully clothed."
Jermaine said he saw something in the water that looked like a red rag about 15 metres away.
"I swam over. There was a mad current," he said.
"I saw he was face down in the water and I knew I had to get his face out."
The man had a gash on his head and was bleeding heavily. The Tribal Warrior's senior deckhand, Conrad Parkes, had manoeuvred another tinny in between Jermaine and the out-of-control tinny which was still circling. Wayne Brown, another Tribal Warrior trainee, then jumped in and helped get the man out of the water.
"Our training just kicked in," Jermaine said.
"We just did what we had to do. He was gushing water and blood from the mouth, but he had a faint pulse."
The crew from the Tribal Warrior managed to hail a passing catamaran to throw them a line and haul them into port at Runaway Bay.
The man rescued from the water is a 30-year-old man who wants to be identified only as 'Des'. He was treated at the Gold Coast hospital for a fractured skull and had to have several stitches.
According to Jermaine he was 'ex-navy' and was 'so big that it took six guys to get him out of the tinny and on to the ambulance stretcher'. Des has since called Jermaine and wants to catch up so he can thank him properly.
Water Police have told Jermaine they will nominate him for a bravery award. He is now looking for work in the maritime industry.