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Honour for rescue hero

A MAN who rescued a drowning stranger from Western Port Bay has been awarded for his bravery.
Benjamin Dennis of San Remo recovered fisherman Ilija Pirvac in 2016 and received a bronze medal from The Royal Humane Society of Australasia at Government House, Melbourne, last Thursday.
“I’m proud that I saved the guy but it’s embarrassing as well,” he said.
“It was nerve racking going into the water but I couldn’t let him die.”
Mr Dennis was concreting during construction of his Saltwater Phillip Island restaurant at Newhaven on the evening of December 11, 2016 – Mr Pirvac’s birthday.
At 7pm, Mr Pirvac, of Melbourne was fishing when he fell into the water, off Newhaven jetty. He could not swim and was swept away by the strong tide.
Mr Dennis, a surfer, jumped into the water with one of the fisherman’s eskies and swam to him. But the man became difficult for Mr Dennis to hold as he tired and as the esky had filled with water and sunk.
“He was fully clothed and he was going under,” Mr Dennis said.
“The water was still cold and I thought I would be floating up the bay with a dead body.”
He tried to hold Mr Pirvac’s head out of the water as Mr Pirvac was losing consciousness.
Mr Pirvac soon passed out as saltwater filled his lungs. Mr Dennis screamed for help, alerting nearby fisherman, Vaughan Platt of Cape Woolamai, who was a friend of Mr Dennis’. He came to the rescue in his boat, accompanied by Chris Chudmore, who was eating tea nearby at the time.
By the time the boat arrived, the men in the water were several hundred metres from shore.
They were lifted into the boat and a Triple Zero operator instructed in the administration of first aid.
“Everyone thought he was dead,” Mr Dennis said.
“There were no signs of life for ages. He had blood all over him and his blood was all over me.”
Mr Pirvac later regained consciousness and began vomiting. Paramedics arrived and took over his treatment.
“I just went back to work and had to keep going because I had some concrete setting,” Mr Dennis said.
To thank Mr Dennis, Mr Pirvac, a steel fabricator, worked at his restaurant after the incident to repay him. Last Saturday evening, Mr Pirvac and 25 of his friends came to Mr Dennis’ restaurant for a meal.

 

So proud: Benjamin Dennis (centre) received a bravery award at Government House in Melbourne last Thursday for rescuing a man drowning in Western Port Bay.
He is with, from left, his fiancée Amy Cattermole, The Governor of Victoria, the Hon. Linda Dessau AC, his daughter Mali Dennis and the man he rescued, Ilija Pirvac.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=26960

Posted by on Dec 18 2018. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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