Bravery in the family
A painful leg injury didn't stop Brett Clark from saving a life.
Mr Clark ended up on a drip in hospital after a daring rescue near Kawakawa Bay.
Now he, his cousin Detective Bronwyn Matthews and her husband Dean Organ have been recognised by the Counties Manukau police for their bravery.
They were holidaying at neighbouring baches on December 14 when Mr Clark noticed two people in the water about 50 metres from the coastline.
Their small fishing boat had run out of fuel and they were trying to swim to the beach but were struggling to reach the shore.
"I could see there was an issue out there but I didn't have my glasses on. I couldn't see what was happening but I could see they needed help," Mr Clark says.
He rang for emergency services before rushing to the aid of one of the men, badly spraining his ankle as he went.
Mr Organ swam to the other man, who was floating face-down in an ill-fitting life jacket.
The two rescuers dragged the men to shore and they and Mrs Matthews administered CPR until emergency services arrived about 25 minutes later.
The first man "had a lungful of water" but eventually started breathing on his own. He was taken to Middlemore Hospital for treatment and was discharged the next day.
The second man died before he could be reached. He was later identified as 54-year-old Samuel Benjamin, of Manurewa.
Mr Clark was treated at Middlemore Hospital for his leg injury but ended up in Auckland Hospital after his leg became infected.
He spent two nights on an antibiotic drip and still suffers a great deal of pain from his injury.
Mr Organ says his cousin-in-law's efforts were truly heroic.
"After about half an hour I looked at his leg and it looked broken.
"I don't know how he did what he did with his leg. A lot of people wouldn't have, that's for sure."
Mr Organ says his son Daniel, 7, was also a "little hero" on the day.
"When I was in the water, he started pulling my dinghy down the beach because he could hear me asking for a boat. He saw everything but he was very calm."
Counties Manukau police central area commander Inspector Julia Lynch presented the trio with their certificates of appreciation at a ceremony in Manurewa last week.
She says their actions are to be commended and are "within the highest traditions" of the New Zealand police.
- Papakura Courier
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