Perry Farrell was just in the right place at the right time.
The 18-year-old University of Otago health sciences student
decided to find a more picturesque place to study on March 18
and ended up at St Clair Beach, where he saved a woman from
Fortunately, Mr Farrell is also a lifeguard for the Mt
Maunganui Surf Life Saving Club, and his actions have earned
him a special award from Surf Life Saving New Zealand.
A woman on a surfboard got caught in a rip near the rocks at
St Clair and was having trouble getting back to shore.
St Clair Surf Club was closed at the time, so Mr Farrell
grabbed a kneeboard and headed out beyond the breakers to
help the woman.
After bringing her back through the breakers to the safety of
the beach, he noticed she had very blue lips and looked
He sat her down and realised she needed treatment for
She was later taken to Dunedin Hospital by ambulance.
Each month, Surf Life Saving New Zealand selects a winning
rescue from each region.
Mr Farrell's rescue was named the top rescue of March for the
Surf Life Saving New Zealand chairman Geoff Hamilton said the
''extraordinary'' effort shown by Mr Farrell was outstanding.
''Had Perry not been there that day, the woman had a fair
chance of drowning, as she was very tired and hypothermic,''
''Admiration of the skill and professionalism shown by those
involved in the incident is testament to qualities valued by
Surf Life Saving New Zealand and BP.''
Mr Farrell was unable to be contacted for comment.