We all admire a hero and the people of the Waikato today are saluting a Hamilton feller who didn’t hesitate before leaping to the rescue. He grabbed his flippers and body board and headed out through the pummelling surf of a Northland beach to help drag a struggling tourist to safety on Thursday.
This feller is Elliot Tiffany, a school teacher.
According to the Waikato Times, he and his 11-year-old son Xavier played a vital role in saving the life of a British grandfather, who got stuck in a rip at King’s Beach.
Aged in his mid-60s, the Pom apparently was attempting to swim to rocks when he got halfway and decided to turn back.
But a rip caught him and swept him out another 50 metres.
“He was about 120 metres from the beach, he wasn’t moving at all, his head was just bobbing around. It wasn’t looking good, he wasn’t going anywhere,” said Tiffany.
Our heroic teacher had been holidaying with his wife and three boys at the camping ground in Whananaki North, about 42km northeast of Whangarei.
On Thursday afternoon they were down at a private surf beach when Xavier spotted members of the man’s family scouring the sea.
“He saw the look on the family’s faces and looked at the guy, and came and got me.”
Acting quickly, Tiffany grabbed his flippers and body board, and along with two other beachgoers, headed out through the swell.
“All three of us got to him, and then all four of us were stuck in the rip. One of the guys and I put our body board and longboard together and got him to hold on.
“He was pretty pale, pretty exhausted. We surrounded him and put him on top of both the boards on his chest.”
It took 40 minutes to get back to the beach.
“When he got to shore he collapsed. He couldn’t stand up, he just had complete exhaustion.”
The British bloke was helicoptered to hospital but subsequently was discharged and has left the campground.
So all’s well that ends well.
If Alf had been called on to go to the bloke’s rescue, he confesses that he might not have acted as promptly as the Waikato school teacher.
His first instinct would have been to check out the victim’s nationality before rushing to the rescue.
This would be essential to ensure the bloke being swept out to sea did not come from a region – for example – where ISIS is operating.
Having established his nationality, Alf would have asked lots of questions of the drowning bloke’s family to be absolutely sure he indeed was doing a good deed and was not putting the security of the nation at risk.
Oh, and let’s be honest: if the drowning bloke was a Kiwi, well, you can be sure Alf would have established who he had voted for last year before engaging in any heroics.