Two 12 year-old boys saved fisherman from drowning

January 2, 2013

Two 12 year-old boys saved a 32 year-old fisherman from drowning at Waihi Beach this past weekend.

Mr. Shao lost his footing while setting up a few crab pots and was quickly pulled out to see by a strong rip tide. Shao, a decent swimmer, found himself struggling to stay afloat after exerting all of his energy into fighting the current.

Sergio Schuler and Will White, both 12 years-old, happened to be swimming nearby and spotted Shao in the distance. Will, who has taken years of surf lessons, knew his training could help Shao and swam out to him while Sergio swam back to shore for help.

"You can see the hope there and you will try your best to survive even though you are very tired. That's why I think the boy, Will, really helped," said Shao. "I want to say thank you to him. I'd say he has a bright future. He just stayed with me and told me what to do."

Sergio swam back out to assist Will in bringing Shao back to shore. Once they exited the water, Shao collapsed on the sand while spitting up swallowed water. An ambulance arrived soon after to take Shao to a nearby hospital.

Shao made a full recovery and returned home after a few hours of treatment. If not for the courage of two 12 year-old boys, Shao may have lost his life. Instead, Shao is full of praise for these two youngsters and is nominating them for the prestigious Surf Life Saving NZ national rescue of the month award.

Sources: Photo CHRIS HILLOCK/FairfaxNZ. Story:

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