Luke Tomlinson and Daniele Finezzi were honoured for their selfless bravery and courage by the Dusi organising committee, the School and the WBHS Griffin Supporters Club. Here is their story as reported in the Daily News.
TEENS AWARDED TROPHY FOR DRAMATIC DUSI RESCUE
By Mpume Madlala, Daily News, 20 Feb 2012
Two pupils at Westville Boys’ High School were awarded the Fletcher Campbell Trophy for their bravery after saving paddler Clint Frost from drowning in the last stage of the Unlimited Dusi. Luke Tomlinson and Daniele Finezzi, both 17, were given the trophy at the race’s prize-giving ceremony on Saturday.
The teenagers abandoned their hopes of a three-hour finish on Saturday, the final day of the race, to assist Frost and his friend, Sarah Vermaak. Frost and Vermaak’s canoe capsized in a rapid and Frost’s right leg became trapped. Luke and Daniele saw the incident and, realising immediately that Frost was in danger, came to his rescue while Vermaak managed to keep Frost’s head above water.
Luke said they were just rounding the river bend when they heard a woman screaming for help. “Their boat was badly broken and his (Frost’s) foot was trapped underneath. They were clearly battling because she was struggling to keep his head above the raging water. They must have been fighting the big water for about five to seven minutes at that stage and looked exhausted,” he said.
Daniele said they had dumped their boat in the reeds to the right and jumped out. “The lady shouted at Daniele to grab his (Frost’s) arm to help hold his head above the water, while I tried to free his foot. By that time, other paddlers had stopped as well and we had lifted him out on to another boat before using a throw rope to drag the boat off to the nearby rocks,” he said.
Describing it as an instinctive reaction, Luke said they were glad that they could help. We’d rather lose the race than see a fellow paddler getting hurt. That’s just what you do as a paddler. The whole incident probably took less than half an hour, but it seemed like forever,” he said.
The boys finished the stage in three hours and 45 minutes.