Stab Magazine | Watch: Harry Bryant, Benny Howard Save Drowning Swimmer
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Watch: Harry Bryant, Benny Howard Save Drowning Swimmer

“He was treading water, barely, and he was fucking going blue.”

news // Jan 31, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Last Friday, the day before Australia/Invasion Day and the start of the long weekend, Benny Howard, Harry Bryant, Dav Fox and a few others sunk tins at Port Macquarie breakwall-adjacent skatepark. A pretty stereotypical P-Mac setting, but one which ended in a strange and in hindsight, memorable night.

In short, Benny Howard saved a bloke’s life. So, we’ll let him tell the story. 

We were just at the skatepark having a few beers and some cops drove past and seemed to be sussing out the river.” Ben told Stab. “They were flashing their lights in the river and what not. Then we saw a bloke frantically running up the point with a bodyboard. We didn’t think much of it at the time though.

“We eventually went over to look and there was a bloke in the river getting swept out past the breakwalls. We were watching, the cops were doing nothing and I kinda realised I had to go out there and get the dude.

I just grabbed the foamie on Harry’s roof and started paddling out. I reckon the dude was out there for like 40 minutes and he was totally screwed when I got there. He was treading water, barely, and he was fucking going blue. I gave him the board, but he couldn’t speak english and was struggling to stay on top of it.

“It’s hard to describe, but you could just tell he was absolutely rooted.”

From there, Benny brought the dude in. It took about 10 minutes, then Harry Bryant and someone else helped bring him in the rest of the way. 

I think he’d swallowed heaps of water. The cops were pretty much still doing nothing and it took the paramedics about 15 minutes to get down there after we got him to shore. It was 7:30 at night too, so the light was fading pretty quickly.”

Although neither Benny, Harry, nor the other bystanders were trained in first aid, they managed to get him into a makeshift recovery position until the paramedics got there. 

He was just coughing up water and passing in and out of consciousness. He coughed up a bit by the time the paramedics came and then they took over.

If we didn’t see him and go out there, he would’ve drowned for sure. There was no lifeguards or any other surfers or good swimmers around to really help. It was kinda lucky we noticed, and what else could you do but paddle out and help the dude.

“They took him off to hospital but I’m pretty sure he was sweet.

“The cops interviewed us, just that standard practice interview. The family thanked us as well. They couldn’t speak English and were super upset but you could tell how thankful they were.”

Afterwards Benny, Haz, Dav and the rest of them tripped out on what just happened and continued on into the weekend with a decent story to spill – with some Parkinsons-esque handycam footage to match. While guys like Haz and Ben are the sorts you’d expect to always take the piss, it’s good to see them save a life as the rest of the crowd succumbs to the bystander effect. 

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