Six bravery awards, one of them awarded posthumously, have been given to the men involved in the rescue of three girls who were swept out to sea on Elcho Island, Northern Territory, in February 2012.
The three girls were playing in the water when the current turned into a dangerous rip as the weather shifted. The girls were swept off a sand bar and out into the Arafura sea.
Mr D, a 23-year-old Aboriginal man who cannot be named due to cultural reasons, and Eddie Dhurrkay, 32, swam out to rescue the girls.
Mr D. struggled against the current as he was bringing one of the girls to shore. Unable to fight the rip he used all of his strength to launch her into the air from his shoulders toward the shore where she could touch the bottom. He then disappeared underwater and his body was found washed up the following morning on a nearby beach.
Mr D was awarded a medal posthumously by The Royal Humane Society of Australasia and Dhurrkay was presented with a silver medal for bravery.
“When these men acted immediately to save the lives of three young girls who were in a perilous situation they displayed the courage and conviction they were doing the right thing," NT Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said.
Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.
Contact Allan Clarke at arielle.benedek+AC@buzzfeed.com.
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