Heroes honoured for rescuing family from Mary River

THREE men have been acknowledged by the Australian Governor-General for their bravery when helping save a family from the Mary River.

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Police Constable Drew Harold, Bruce Holla and Brendan McPhillips received a Group Bravery Citation this month for their heroics three years ago.

Just before midday on 25 September 2018, the small boat a family of five had been using overturned in the middle of the river and threw the two adults and three children into the water.

The Mary River is known to be a natural habitat for bull sharks and the occasional crocodile.

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The Office of the Governor-General said the boat was floating in the middle of the river but slowly sinking.

The family members clung to the boat to stay afloat and the children were wearing lifejackets.

Const Harold, Mr Holla and Mr McPhillips entered the water and swam about 50m to the boat.

Two of the men held onto the children and all five adults helped swim the boat back to shore.

The children were then handed over to bystanders on the side of the river who helped them out of the water.

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Emergency services arrived at the scene and provided the necessary assistance.

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According to the Governor-General’s website, a Group Bravery Citation is awarded for a collective act of bravery by a group of persons in extraordinary circumstances that is considered worthy of recognition.

Commenting on the actions of the 111 awards announced this month, Governor-General David Hurley said they recognise the courageous actions of individuals who, in a moment of danger or peril, chose to act.

“They were brave, they did not hesitate and their actions made a difference,” he said.

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“On behalf of all Australians, I thank each recipient for their action and congratulate them on the recognition.

“[The] recipients come from all sorts of different backgrounds, are of different ages and were confronted with very different situations. None of them set out to be brave or receive an award – they were confronted with a situation and they acted.

“They put their own well-being at risk to help others. They were not only brave, they were selfless.

“The stories of their deeds are remarkable and should inspire all of us.”

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