Today I presented bravery awards on behalf of Ambulance Tasmania to four boys and an adult involved in the dramatic rescue of a 12 year-old boy at Kingston Beach earlier this year.

St Virgil’s College students Sam Kelly and Matthew Direen, and Hutchins School students Tom Wilkins and Hugh Hickling, along with Chris Shelverton, of Sandfly, all received Certificates of Commendation for the critical role they played in saving Kobey Cashion when he slipped off a cliff and fell unconscious into rough water.

Sam, Matthew and Kobey were leaving the beach when Kobey returned to collect something, planning to meet his two friends further up the cliffs.

When they reached the top, they saw Kobey floating face down in the water. They ran back down and entered the waves, holding Kobey’s head out of the water, with the waves repeatedly crashing over them and knocking them off their feet.

Matthew then ran back up the cliff to get a phone and called Sam’s mother to raise the alarm.

Bravely doing all they could to keep their friend from drowning, the boys saw Tom and Hugh on the rocks, and with this extra help, were able to lift Kobey from the water to the safety of the rocks.

Ambulance Tasmania emergency dispatcher Yolanda Loh, gave the boys step by step instructions on how to look after Kobey, staying on the phone with Sam for nearly 45 minutes to talk him through exactly what was required.

The boys waved down kayaker Chris Shelverton, who paddled to their assistance, taking control of the situation and responsibility for Kobey’s care until help arrived.

When ambulance and police arrived, Kobey was flown to the Royal Hobart Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

These boys showed remarkable courage in a dangerous and extremely challenging situation. Saving their friend became the only priority and it is an immense credit to all of them.

A person doesn’t usually know how they will react in a life or death situation.

We are blessed that these boys and Mr Shelverton had the courage and determination to do what was needed to save a life despite the obvious risks to their own safety. This saved Kobey from certain death.

I also acknowledge the work of our dedicated emergency services personnel and thank them for the vital service that they continue to provide each day.

These are true heroes, and on behalf of the Tasmanian community and Ambulance Tasmania – Thank you and well done.

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