Maroochydore Surf Lifesaving volunteer Robin Smith was the first responder when Bryce Johns had a cardiac arrest at Cotton Tree. Photo: John McCutcheon
Maroochydore Surf Lifesaving volunteer Robin Smith was the first responder when Bryce Johns had a cardiac arrest at Cotton Tree. Photo: John McCutcheon

Lifesavers honoured for giving dad a second chance at life

THE bravery of three surf lifesavers who gave an unconscious swimmer a second chance at life has been recognised by Surf Life Saving Australia.

October 27 is a day that these Maroochydore Surf Life Saving club volunteers will never forget.

>> DYING DAD 'ON HIS BACK, BLUE AS ANYTHING'

It was the day that senior lifesaving volunteer Robin Smith and junior lifesavers Taylah Kouvaras and Abigail Green revived "motionless" News Corp executive editor Bryce Johns, while they were out on a roving patrol at Maroochy River.

"I saw a lady coming down the beach yelling, and I sort of knew instantly that something bad was happening," Mr Smith said.

"Sure enough, about 50 metres down the beach there was a gentleman who had had a swim, come out of the water and just collapsed."

Bryce Johns thanked lifesavers, emergency crews and doctors for saving his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest on October 27. Photo: Shayla Bulloch
Bryce Johns thanked lifesavers, emergency crews and doctors for saving his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest on October 27. Photo: Shayla Bulloch

The lifesavers moved Mr Johns away from the river and commenced CPR, as Mr Smith recalled a "very" blue body and no pulse.

The 52-year-old suffered cardiac arrest, and had to be revived about three times.

"We did get him back, then we lost him again, then we got him back then we lost him again," Mr Smith said.

"It was a process of trying to get him stable enough so that I could then actually get a defib on him.

"In my mind if there's no oxygen in his blood it doesn't matter what equipment you use."

>> 'I PICKED A PERFECT PLACE TO DIE': NEWS CORP BOSS SAVED

After several cycles of CPR, a defibrillator was then attached to Mr Johns and at least four shocks were delivered.

When paramedics arrived, Mr Johns was transported to hospital and placed in an induced coma for 24 hours.

If it wasn't for the help from these volunteers, Mr Johns wouldn't have survived.

Yesterday, Mr Smith represented the lifesaving trio as he collected Surf Life Saving Australia's National Rescue Medal at Parliament House.

Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien had the honour of presenting the medal to Mr Smith.

Maroochydore Surf Life Saving lifesaver Robin Smith receiving the Surf Life Saving Australia National Rescue Medal from Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien, yesterday. Photo: Contributed
Maroochydore Surf Life Saving lifesaver Robin Smith receiving the Surf Life Saving Australia National Rescue Medal from Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien, yesterday. Photo: Contributed

"Surf life saving is such an important part of our identity on the Sunshine Coast," Mr O'Brien said.

"From the young nippers on our beaches learning water safety, to the volunteers in iconic red and yellow who give up their weekends to keep the rest of us safe.

"As a community, it is also incredibly reassuring to know, walking among us are people the calibre of Robin, Taylah and Abigail who each possess the skills, mindset and commitment to save a life.

"Congratulations to Maroochydore SLSC and thank you to all our surf lifesavers."

Mr Smith expressed the importance of learning CPR and how to use a defibrillator, saying it was "absolutely" vital.

"Australia has many wonderful beaches and we can't be patrolling all of them all of the time," he said.

"I urge the public at the beginning of this summer, if you are going to the beach, have a look at the conditions. If you are unsure, always swim between the red and yellow."

The event also marked the relaunch of SLSA's rip current campaign, 'Think Line', for summer.

Think Line encourages swimmers to draw a line in the sand, to stop, look and plan before entering the beach.



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