New Zealand: 9-year-old girl saves drowning friend — Grace Akroyd, age 9, downplayed her heroic action that saved her 7-year-old friend from drowning Thursday, saying she was just doing what she has been trained to do.
Grace, a member of the Mount Maunganui Surf Club, was swimming with two friends at Mount Maunganui in New Zealand on Thursday when three huge waves threw the group under the surface.
As the one friend was able to swim to shore, Grace popped her head back under the water and continued to search for 7-year-old Dylan Francis until she was finally able to grasp one of his legs and drag him to the surface and then to the shore, said a New Zealand Herald report.
“All these waves were crashing and I needed to come up but I really wanted to find Dylan,” said Grace as she described the incident to the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.
“So I kept on diving and felt around for him, when I felt a leg, I did not know if it was him or not but I just pulled it to the surface, then I put my arm under him to keep his head up and got him back to the sand.
“He was a bit scared and was not talking much. I think he was a bit shocked and he was coughing up lots. I think he drank a lot of sea water, but it felt good to have him back on the beach,” she said.
The 9-year-old from Papamoa, who has been a junior surf member of the Mount club since age 5, said she was not scared because her “training kicked in”.
“It was my first rescue,” she told the media.
“I did not feel scared at all, it felt really easy because I have been taught all the basics at the club, all my family is involved in surf lifesaving, my mum and dad and my sisters.
“One day I am hoping to be a qualified lifeguard so I can rescue more people,” she added.