Young hero saves South Korean in surf
By GARY CHIGWIDDEN firstname.lastname@example.org SOMEWHERE in South Korea there is a young man who is alive thanks to 14-year-old Brock Eastlake.
If it wasn’t for the Byron Bay High School year 9 student, the man may well have drowned when swept into deep water at Main Beach.
Brock was swimming just beyond the break at about noon last Sunday week when he saw the South Korean and several of his friends get ‘sucked out’ into deeper water by a rip.
“I could tell they could not really swim,” he said. “One yelled out for help and his head went under the water.”
When no-one else in the surf acted to help, Brock decided to assist.
He swam to the man and grabbed him from behind around the shoulders – something he had learned in his two years as a Byron Bay Nipper when he was younger.
“He grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go,” he said. “I tried to swim in but was not getting too far because of the rip.
“A guy on a bodyboard came over and we put him on the board. We finally got him in and took him to find his friends.”
On the beach, the very grateful South Korean, in broken English, could not thank his rescuer enough.
“On the beach, he kept coming up to me saying thank you,” Brock said.
He admitted he had been ‘a little bit scared’ during the rescue.
The teenager’s aunty, Kerry Baunach, of Byron Bay, was on the beach looking for him when she saw him come out of the water with the South Korean, both looking shocked.
When Brock told her what had happened, Kerry said her heart was ‘just bursting’.
“I was just so proud,” she said. “But I am very glad that nothing happened to him.”
Kerry said the South Korean man couldn’t thank Brock enough.
“He spoke little English, but said ‘drowning, save life’ and just patted him (Brock) again,” she said. “He was very grateful.”
The other South Koreans were brought safely back to the beach.