Surf Rescue Heroes Honoured with Award
Surf Rescue Heroes Honoured with Award
The outstanding bravery of two Hawke's Bay police officers, who saved the life of a boy from treacherous surf at Napier in March this year, will be honoured today, as the Police Association presents New Zealand Police Association Bravery Awards to Senior Constable Bryan Farquharson and Constable Paul Bailey.
The awards will be presented at midday today by Prime Minister John Key at the Association’s 78th Annual Conference in Wellington. The Police Association Bravery Awards are unique in that they represent recognition of an outstanding act of bravery by an officer’s peers.
“The actions of police officers Farquharson and Bailey exemplified the traditions and highest ideals of policing. Their extraordinary bravery in entering the treacherous surf of Napier beach, which has claimed many lives over the years, saved the life of 12 year old Joshua McQuoid,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.
On 10 March 2013, Joshua McQuoid was playing on the beach with friends when a large wave broke on shore, knocking him over, and sucking him into the surf. He was swept approximately 500 feet along the beach, being 'pounded by the waves'. A young German backpacker entered into the water and reached Joshua, however the waves were too strong and he ended up on the beach exhausted himself.
Then Constable (now Senior Constable) Bryan Farquharson was first officer on the scene, responding to a 111 call. He removed his vest and items, and ran immediately into the surf in an attempt to reach Joshua. Bryan was hit by three waves in quick succession, each of which knocked him down. Bryan kept returning to his feet and trying to reach Joshua.
Constable Paul Bailey also responded to the event. Paul arrived whilst Bryan was in the water, removed his uniform items and raced down into the water. He was able to reach Joshua but was also pummelled by the waves and was unable to return Joshua to shore.
When spoken to afterwards Paul described managing to get Joshua to Bryan, however the undertow broke their grip on him and they were swept back out. Paul was also being knocked over and sucked under by the strength of the waves. Bryan had the presence of mind to summon people to help form a chain in trying to reach Paul and Joshua.
At about this time Paul had lost hold of Joshua when hit by a wave and had lost sight of him. Joshua had gone beneath the water and was out of sight for a significant period of time. Paul, after searching for some time, felt Joshua hit his legs beneath the water and reached down, picked Joshua up and threw him towards the formed chain whereupon Joshua was grabbed and pulled back to safety. Joshua was unresponsive at the point he was pulled from the water. Other Police staff and members of the public then assisted in pulling Bryan and Paul, who were physically exhausted, from the water.
Joshua McQuoid later told media: "I'd love to thank them so much for what they did. They saved my life. If it wasn't for them I'd be dead". Paul Bailey stated to media: "A few times under the waves I was thinking, 'Have I done the right thing charging in here? Is it going to be two bodies they're looking for?"
“Senior Constable Bryan Farquharson and Constable Paul Bailey showed extraordinary and selfless bravery, in leaping without hesitation into dangerous surf to save Joshua’s life. It is this act of extraordinary bravery for which they are being honoured with New Zealand Police Association Bravery Awards,” Mr O’Connor said.
“A New Zealand Police Association Bravery Award is the highest honour the Police Association can bestow on its members to recognise such extraordinary acts. It is fitting that the awards are presented by New Zealand’s Prime Minister, as the highest representative of the society police are sworn to protect,” Mr O’Connor said.