Sergeant awarded for bravery

A POLICE officer who rescued a fisherman from wild seas off Philip Island received a bravery medal last week.

Sergeant Daniel Burgess received the Clarke Silver Medal from The Royal Humane Society of Australasia at The Melbourne Town Hall.

The award was presented by Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

On January 14, 2012, Sgt Burgess and Senior Constable William Richardson received a report of a fisherman who had been washed from the rocks in the vicinity of Pyramid Rock.

When they arrived, they were met by fisheries officer Chris Angwin who had sighted the man in the water. Mr Angwin was able to unlock a gate which gave the policemen access to the paddocks to get closer to the incident more quickly.
Sgt Burgess and S/C Richardson ran down a cliff face onto the rock ledge and then across the ledge some 150m to where fishermen were standing.

At that point they could see a man in the water lying on his back about 20m from the rocks. The man was motionless and his head was submerged. Surf life savers and the Police Air Wing had been called to attend, but would not be there for some time.
A large southerly swell of 1.5-2m and a southerly wind added to the dangerous conditions. There was also a drop of about 4m from the rocks into the rough seas.
Sgt Burgess removed his boots to enter the water and instructed S/C Richardson to remain on the rocks. Sgt Burgess then dived into the water and swam to the drowning man.

Sgt Burgess lifted the man’s head out of the water and then bear hugged him under his rib cage, causing the man to vomit a large amount of sea water.

About 10 minutes later, Sgt Burgess was able to drag the man to shallower water where S/C Richardson was waiting in waist deep water on the rocks.
While they were waiting to move the man from the water, a large set of waves came over the top of Sgt Burgess, causing him to lose his hold on the drowning man.

Sgt Burgess and S/C Richardson were swept by the waves about 20-30m along the rocks, causing bruising and abrasions. The drowning man was again swept out to sea with his head submerged in the water.
Sgt Burgess jumped back into the water and swam to the submerged man. Mr Angwin also jumped into the water to assist Sgt Burgess.

The two worked together, with Mr Angwin holding the man’s head above water and Sgt Burgess pushing his body to the surface. S/C Richardson continued to provide assistance from the rocks and also maintained communications.
After being informed the air wing was still 25 minutes away, Sgt Burgess and Mr Angwin realised it was going to be difficult and dangerous to swim to the beach, given the rough conditions and strong undertow.

By this stage Sgt Burgess and Mr Angwin had been in the water supporting the man for about 25 minutes. Mr Owens of Life Saving Victoria then arrived and also entered the water to assist. He used a flotation device to wrap around the man.
They moved the man to the rock ledge and waited until there was a large 2m swell to help them push the man up to S/C Richardson. The man was then handed to the waiting paramedics where he was resuscitated and airlifted to hospital.
S/C Richardson then helped Sgt Burgess and Messrs Angwin and Owens out of the water.

Sgt Burgess was in the water for about 40 minutes and Mr Angwin for about 30 minutes.

At a separate ceremony earlier this year, Mr Angwin received the bronze medal, and S/C Richardson and Mr Owens certificate of merits.

Sgt Burgess is based at Carrum Downs Police Station but was covering Phillip Island at the time of the rescue.


 Proud family: Sergeant Daniel Burgess is congratulated on receiving the Clarke Silver Medal (inset) by son Sam.

Proud family: Sergeant Daniel Burgess is congratulated on receiving the Clarke Silver Medal (inset) by son Sam.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=12466

Posted by on Sep 30 2014. 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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