When Geoff Pursell saw a toddler suddenly fall into the water at the Sapphire Aquatic Centre, Pambula on Monday, August 25, he didn’t hesitate. Fully clothed, car keys and wallet in his pocket and mobile phone still in his hand, Geoff jumped into the deep end of the multipurpose pool to rescue the young boy from the bottom of the pool.
Geoff and his partner, Jo Mayer were at the pool watching their children having swimming lessons on Monday afternoon. Jo said: “We saw this little toddler near the edge and he was looking into the pool. He just overbalanced and fell in.”
Jo said: “Briody Heffernan tried to grab the child by his foot but the child sunk to the bottom like a stone.”
“It is true what they say about drowning being a silent killer, the little boy didn’t make a splash, he just sunk.”
That was when Geoff, who had been playing with his phone, jumped in fully clothed, mobile phone in hand, car keys and wallet in his pockets and with his shoes on, grabbed the child and handed him to a much relieved dad.
Jo said: “It is true what they say about drowning being a silent killer, the little boy didn’t make a splash, he just sunk and even after getting pulled up he didn’t cry. Luckily the little boy was OK.”
Geoff then had to wait 20-30 minutes for his son and daughter to finish their lessons before leaving for home and some dry clothes.
Jo said: “The mobile phone didn’t survive and he had to get a new one but luckily the remote on the car worked.”
Speaking to the News Weekly on Thursday, Geoff said: “I was trying to do the right thing and just happened to be the quickest off the mark. I just jumped in.”
Bega Valley Shire’s acting group manager for community relations and leisure, Simon Schweitzer said: “It’s good to see caring and vigilant people attending the pool area, because even with trained lifeguards on duty, every extra set of eyes on the pool is helpful, particularly when children are involved.
“Our thanks go to the person involved for taking such decisive action, and this is a gentle reminder to all parents and guardians attending the aquatic centre that children under five need to always be within arm’s reach of a responsible adult when in the pool area.”