Just a handful of patrols into her lifesaving journey, Iluka SLSC volunteer and Australian Lifeguard Service employee Lillian Young may have already completed her most daring and remarkable rescue – saving a kangaroo from choppy surf on New Year’s Eve.
The 17-year-old lifeguard was taking part in just her fourth shift on the NSW North Coast when the near unbelievable incident occurred, startling onlookers and prompting a reaction usually reserved for the most experienced in the field.
“My work mate, Carissa, told me that she’d just seen a kangaroo jump into the water off the rocks,” Lillian recalled.
“I thought she was joking, but another lady came running up and told us about it.
“My first thought was I’d go out on a rescue board, so that’s what I did.”
It’s a scenario no one could ever train for, but Lillian handled it with poise and distinction.
“When I got out to it, it was so out of breath,” she said.
“It was a little scary but also not really – it’s a wild animal so I didn’t want to bring it onto the board and it be dangerous or I spook it.
“It was quite choppy conditions, so I just guided it back into the beach really.”
Onlookers on the beach had gathered to watch what was happening and capture video footage of the incident, so Carissa (Lillian’s fellow lifeguard) cleared space for the kangaroo to find its feet.
“It looked so relieved when it came in,” Lillian said.
“Everyone was clapping and cheering, and it jumped up onto the sand and stood there for a good 45 seconds sort of staring at me.
“It was almost like its way of saying thank you.”
Thursday 6 January 2022