The heartbroken family of an accountant who drowned while rescuing a girl from rough surf have told how the ‘hero’ held the seven-year-old above the water in a ‘superhuman’ act.
Ryan Martin was one of four people who swam out to help the girl and her family after they were swept off some rocks and caught in a rip at Fingal Head, south of Coolangatta in NSW, on Friday.
He held the unconscious seven-year-old girl above the water, get her on to a surfboard and managed to passed her over to rescuers before being washed onto sharp rocks.
His brother Josh Martin, 34, has told how he was not surprised that the ‘cheeky’ 30-year-old sacrificed himself to help the young girl.
According to reports, Martin swam to the girl, who was unconscious. Holding her above the water, Martin managed to get her close enough to lifesavers before being washed onto the rocks. Tragically, his girlfriend, Zoe Bell, watched as her boyfriend drowned.
Mr Martin and a 21-year-old man managed to get the unconscious girl on to a surfboard as lifesavers made their way out in a lifeboat.
The girl and the other rescuer were resuscitated on the beach by lifeguards before being taken to Tweed Heads Hospital. But Mr Martin could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rescuers found Martin’s lifeless body just beneath the surface, but after performing CPR on him for half and hour, he was pronounced dead.
The lifeguards who responded at about 3:40 p.m. local time called the incident a tragedy and said the man who died showed great courage.
“The bravery he’s shown – he’s just put his own life at risk to save a young child,” Detective Inspector Gary Cowan of New South Wales Police told 9 News Australia.