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Bravery medals for Wellington water rescue

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/09/2016

A teenager who ventured into Wellington harbour in the dark to answer a drowning man's cry for help has been recognised for her bravery.

Payge Olds has been awarded the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand's Silver Medal for her actions near Burden's Gate at Eastbourne in March last year.

Two others involved in the late-night incident, Jonathan Derrick and Logan Mason, have each been awarded the society's Bronze Medal.

The trio's citation says Miss Olds, aged 16 at the time and not a strong swimmer, went out and located the man, who was unconscious and floating face-down about 70 metres from shore.

With great effort, she turned him over so his face was out of the water and tried to swim back to land, but his weight began to drag her down.

Mr Derrick and Mr Mason, who were also not confident swimmers, swam out and helped to bring the man to shore.

Miss Olds' cousin, Kelly McKay, who had CPR experience, met them and she and Mr Derrick worked together to revive the man before emergency services arrived.

The society has recognised Miss McKay separately for her actions.

It said the rescuers' effort gave the man a chance of survival. Sadly, he died three days later in hospital.

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