Matt Cairns gets hooked by new wife Joy after rescuing man
in surf who was caught on a fishing line. Photo / supplied
Matt Cairns just wanted to go for a quick swim to cool
off before he got married on a sunny Saturday in Gisborne.
Instead, he saved the life of a drowning surfer whose hand
had been snagged on a fish hook.
The drama unfolded yesterday at 2.30pm when a French tourist
was pulled 500m out to sea, apparently drifting out while
caught on the long line.
Mike Williams, the father of Matt's bride Joy, says Matt - an
experienced life saver from the Waikanae Surf Life Saving
Club - was in his togs for a pre-nuptial dip before getting
into his tuxedo.
"He'd just gotten back from his swim, he hears the guy
screaming and he just plunged in."
After single-handedly pulling the stricken man back to shore
without any flotation aid, Matt was only two minutes late for
"It didn't throw out the day. A lot of the guests had no idea
it'd even happened until family members mentioned it at the
reception. It was all in a day's work for Matt.
"Other people were very impressed that he'd managed it.
People were talking about it heaps tonight. They mentioned it
in their speeches."
The wedding was held at a private property and the reception
took place at the Wainui Surf Life Saving Club.
Mike says his daughter wasn't annoyed at her groom for
putting his life on the line on such a significant day.
"She wasn't pissed off, she was delighted he'd been able to
save the guy. Matt basically got the job done and got back to
The hook, embedded between the tourist's thumb and index
finger, was surgically removed at Gisborne Hospital.
The man was last night discharged and the reception continued
- Michael Botur, Herald on Sunday