Three Narooma men have been officially recognised for their acts of bravery undertaken on the sometimes treacherous Narooma bar crossing back in April 2015 when they rescued five people from upturned fishing vessel.
Daniel Simpson, Joe Nugent and Dan Efraemson did Narooma proud receiving their Bravery Awards at Governor General Peter Cosgrove’s 2017 Investiture Ceremony on April 28.
They and their families were treated to an afternoon tea with Governor General Cosgrove in the Government House courtyard afterwards.
Mr Nugent and Mr Simpson received the Bravery Medal as they duck-dived under an upturned boat to save a trapped girl, while a Commendation for Brave Conduct went to Kane Mood, Dan Efraemson and Shane Barrow, who assisted the others from the boat.
All five were surfing at South Bar Beach, Narooma and witnessed a small fishing boat attempting to cross the Narooma Bar. The swell was around 3 metres high. A wave coming from behind the vessel swamped it, causing it to capsize and throw all five passengers overboard. Two were thrown clear of the boat, one was clinging to the front of the vessel and two were trapped underneath the upturned boat.
Mr Nugent and two of his friends quickly located a passenger in the water and he was assisted to shore by one of the surfers. He and his friend Mr Simpson could hear screaming coming from underneath the bow of the boat. They both swam under the vessel and located a young female who was trapped in an air pocket and, due to her life jacket inflating, was unable to escape.
Mr Nugent and Mr Simpson repeatedly went under the boat to try to rescue the victim. On about their sixth attempt they were able to grab her, pulling her down and out from under the vessel and assisted her to shore.
The three other surfers located another passenger hanging onto the front of the capsized vessel and two other passengers in the surf nearby. Together they guided the three victims back to shore and with the help of other bystanders they observed and supported the passengers until emergency services arrived.
Last week, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), conducted investitures at Government House, Canberra, for over 90 recipients of Australian honours and awards.
During the ceremony the recipient is introduced by the Official Secretary to the Governor-General, with a short summary of their service or achievement.
The Governor-General then “invests” the person with the relevant “insignia” – presenting them with the medal or other device which represents their honour or award. Some insignia are hung around the neck by a ribbon, while most are pinned to the chest.
The ceremonies were conducted in the Drawing Room of the Governor-General’s official residence in Canberra. Award recipients from the Australian Capital Territory, and from nearby regions of New South Wales, are invited to investitures in Canberra.
Governor Cosgrove at the ceremony called the three Narooma men “heroes”.
“The community deserves to see those people who are minding their own business when some event occurs that put to the question, what will they do, and we ask that question of ourselves, what would we do under such circumstances,” Governor Cosgrove said.
“Would we say it’s very dangerous but we have to help, or would prudence say to us, aww that’s so dangerous, I hope they will be allright?
“These men did not flinch, they did not hesitate, they went in and they have saved lives under circumstances which they could have been injured or killed themselves. So they have been justly now today recognised for their bravery.
“It’s something we admire about our community and we certainly admire these three men. Well done chaps.”
Mr Efraemson said it was great honour to attend the ceremony and meet the Governor General.
A video of the ceremony has been posted by the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General and the Narooma men can be seen at 1.34.41 mark.
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