Lifeguards receive Russell Medal

The Russell Medal is awarded to a young person (18 years or younger) who, during the previous year carried out the most outstanding resuscitation or attempted rescue throughout the Commonwealth.

The Patron of the Medal, John Russell flew to New Zealand to present the medals to Michael Collins and Tracey Metekingi, two young lifeguards from Wanganui, New Zealand at a special ceremony hosted by Mr. Chas Poynter, Mayor of Wanganui, on Friday 5 December 2003.

On 25 January 2002 Michael Collins 18 years and Tracey Metekingi 15 years were on lifeguard duty at Castlecliff Beach, Wanganui when they were alerted by a man on a quad bike who raised the alarm of a man collapsed further along the beach.

The two young lifeguards quickly launched the inflatable rubber boat and went to investigate. Two further lifeguards, Phil Gilmore and Riki Mitchell followed in the Club’s patrol vehicle. Someway along the Beach, Michael and Tracey came upon Bruce Raupita aged 43 years who had fallen off a surf ski and was unconscious. The two lifeguards immediately commenced CPR. The patrol vehicle arrived and summoned an ambulance. Michael returned to the patrol tower to retrieve the oxygen pack whilst Tracey continued to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. On Michael’s return the oxygen equipment was assembled and he then recommenced cardiac compressions whilst Tracey used the bag mask.

When the Paramedics arrived they instructed Michael and Tracey to continue CPR and administer oxygen whilst Mr. Raupita was loaded into the ambulance. Bruce Raupita survived for two days in Wanganui Base Hospital when despite the efforts of Michael and Tracey, Bruce sadly died.