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An incredible rescue by 11-year-old Nipper Lachie Muldrock has won the Surf Life Saving NSW Rescue of the Month Award for September.

It was the first week of the October school holidays and Lachie Muldrock was enjoying an early morning surf at Umina Beach with his father and uncle. Lachie,who is a keen competitor in Nippers carnivals, was getting in some practice on his much-loved race board. At around 7.30am, he noticed two young boys caught in a rip screaming for help. 

Lachie’s Nippers training kicked in when he saw the two boys in the rip. They were fully clothed, 150 metres from the shore and struggling to stay above the water. Without hesitation, he paddled over to help.

His uncle, Josh Savage, who had also noticed the boys in trouble, wasn’t far behind.

“I just saw the kids screaming for help and drifting out in the rip. So, I paddled straight over to them and I told one of them to get on my board. He fell off so I grabbed his legs and helped him get back on,” Lachie Muldrock said.

Reuben Muldrock, Lachie’s father, said that when he first saw the boys in the rip, it took him some time to work out what was going on, but that Lachie recognised immediately that the boys needed assistance.

“He just went straight over. He’s a strong paddler, much faster than me, so he got to the boys really quickly. The boys were exhausted and in real trouble. They were ‘climbing the ladder’. They’d had it,” Reuben Muldrock said.

While Lachie got the younger of the two boys on his race board and started paddling him in, his uncle Josh put the older boy on his surfboard and followed Lachie back to the beach.

“I paddled the boy back in beside the rip. It was a bit tricky, but I was lucky to catch a small wave which made it easier,” Lachie Muldrock said.

The boys’ parents, who were on the beach but some distance away at the time of the incident, were unaware that their children were in the water and in trouble.

“The kids’ parents were up the beach playing frisbee and were visibly shocked when they saw us assisting their kids out of the water and up the beach after the rescue,” said Reuben. “The parents didn’t speak English very well so there were some communication difficulties, but we strongly encouraged them to get some medical attention for the boys. They’d swallowed a lot of water and were very pale,” Reuben said.

It is not known exactly how the boys, aged 9 and 11, ended up in the water fully clothed.

“We think the boys must have been wading in the shallow water on the shoreline when one of them fell into a hole and then got sucked into the rip. The other boy must have dived in after him to help,” Reuben Muldrock said.

Lachie Muldrock has been a Nipper at Umina SLSC since he was five. He’s a keen surf sports competitor in water events - including the Board Rescue, Board Relay, Taplin and Iron Man.

“Basically, Lachie’s Nippers board training instantly kicked in when he saw the boys in trouble. He just did what he does in competition in the board rescue events,” Reuben Muldrock said.

Umina SLSC President, Stephen Scahill, who is also Lachie’s Age Manager, said that in performing the rescue so competently, Lachie had shown maturity beyond his years.

“Lachie’s ability to remain calm in such a serious situation is particularly impressive for someone of his age,” Stephen Scahill said. “He’s a great part of our surf club and comes to training all the time and competes. The skills he’s developed came to play in the rescue.

“He’s dedicated and very competent. He was the right kid to be in that spot at that time. When I heard it was Lachie who had performed the rescue, I wasn’t surprised,” Stephen Scahill concluded.

George Shales OAM, President of Surf Life Saving NSW, congratulated Lachie Muldrock on his outstanding rescue and said his swift actions undoubtedly saved the lives of two people.

The SLSNSW Rescue of the Month aims to recognise excellence in lifesaving. Each month a ‘Rescue of the Month’ is awarded at state level for the most outstanding rescue performance for that period. Monthly winners have the chance to win the National Rescue of the Month and become finalists for the SLSNSW Rescue of the Year which is presented at the annual Awards of Excellence. Laerdel are proud supporters of Surf Life Saving NSW. Rescue of the Month winners receive Laerdel gift vouchers as recognition of their achievements. Twelve prizes are awarded annually.

Lachie Muldrock from Umina SLSC was awarded the SLSNSW Rescue of the Month for September 2020.

Thursday 12 November 2020