Young lifeguard brings swimmer back from death
LIFEGUARD Daniel Robinson's first resuscitation has saved a family holiday from ending in disaster.
The man he saved, Alan Broughton, can not remember the incident but is truly grateful to Mr Robinson and for the efforts of other lifeguards, paramedics and bystanders who all helped to bring him back to life.
Nearly a fortnight has passed since a man came running to raise the alarm to Mr Robinson on November 7 while he was on patrol in the tower at Bulcock Beach.
"I could see people down at the other end of the beach congregating," Mr Robinson said.
"I knew something was on straight away.
"You go from placid to hectic in a split second."
Alan had been pulled from the water by his brother Keith Broughton and a fisherman who had noticed Alan was in difficulty.
Alan's wife Christine Broughton had also helped trying to keep her husband's head above water.
They had been bobbing along in the incoming current, only a little more than a metre deep, when Keith and Christine noticed Alan was getting away from them.
At first they thought nothing of it because Alan was still floating on his back but Keith went for a closer look after Alan put his arm in the air.
Keith realised Alan was in trouble as soon as he got to him.
"I don't think he was conscious at that point," Keith said.
The fisherman had seen the difficulty Keith and Christine were having getting Alan out of the water and came in to help.
"We both tried to pull him in but the current was quite strong," Keith said.
Alan was unconscious, not breathing and had lost a lot of colour by the time they got him to shore.
"I will never forget that," Keith said.
Mr Robinson arrived shortly after from his solo post a few hundred metres up the beach.
He immediately called for help from other lifeguards based at Kings Beach.
"He didn't look like there was any life in him," Mr Robinson said.
"He had his eyes rolled back in his head.
"He was out.
"He wasn't breathing."
He got a defibrillator ready, opened up the man's airway and started pumping oxygen into him.
Paramedics had arrived by that time and were doing chest compressions.
Lifeguard brothers Aaron and Corey Jones then arrived from Kings Beach on a jet ski.
It was also the first time they had been called on to do a full resuscitation.
The lifeguards took turns doing compressions while the paramedics used a suction machine and put the man on a drip to try to boost his blood pressure.
"He was full of water," Corey said.
"Completely full of water."
He said the paramedics told him, his brother and Mr Robinson to keep working on the man.
"They were really, really good for us. They taught us a lot."
Mr Robinson said colour started slowly returning to the man as they worked.
"I couldn't believe I was doing what I was doing," Mr Robinson said.
"But I just had confidence in myself.
"As we were doing compressions you could feel him trying to start breathing."
The man's heart started and paramedics were able to take him unconscious to a waiting ambulance.
All up, Alan's family believe he was lifeless for about 12 minutes.
The lifeguards had some relief at that stage but knew there was still only a slim chance of survival.
They knew the man could have suffered brain damage, or could have got an infection due to having so much water in him.
Mr Robinson said the good news came four days later, on his 25th birthday.
Alan's family had contacted lifeguards in person to let them know Alan was sitting up in bed at Nambour General Hospital.
He had been in an induced coma for three days.
"I spoke to his brother," Mr Robinson said.
"He said 'if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have a big brother'."
Mr Robinson said everyone at the scene had contributed really well.
Alan remained in Nambour General Hospital until Thursday.
He believes he may have had a medical episode before getting into trouble in the water but doctors have been unable to confirm exactly what happened.
Alan went for his first outing on Friday and has been recovering at his brother Keith and sister-in-law Vivian Broughton's Brisbane home.
He and his wife have been visiting from Swansea in their native Wales.
"Obviously I can't thank him enough," Alan said.
He is still a bit tender from the compressions but otherwise has been given the all clear to board a plane to fly home when he is ready.
Christine said she wanted him to get a bit stronger first.
She said she also wanted to personally thank the fisherman who helped to pull her husband from the water.
Vivian also wanted to show her gratitude.
"We really appreciate what they all did," she said.
"Young Dan, he did a marvellous job."