Australian Navy sailors rescue drowning man during RIMPAC

Two Royal Australian Navy sailors deployed to Exercise RIMPAC have saved the life of a drowning man in Honolulu, Hawaii.

According to the Australian Navy, Hawaiian resident Chad Gillingham fell more than four meters from the pier into the harbor shortly before midnight earlier this month and suffered a serious head wound and lacerations after striking exposed rock on the way down.

Petty Officer Marine Technician Dave Finney, from Modbury in South Australia, and Chief Petty Officer Communications and Information Systems Craig Davis from HMAS Canberra arrived at the scene a short time later.

Petty Officer Finney said he saw Gillingham struggling to stay afloat on the evening on July 7 and made the call to enter the water to provide assistance.

“We quickly assessed the situation and determined that Mr Gillingham was unable to help himself – that’s when I made the decision to jump in,” he said.

Once firefighters and paramedics arrived, Petty Officer Finney fitted a neck brace and pulled Mr Gillingham out of the water.

Reunited at the scene of the accident, Gillingham said he had little recollection of the events.

“I remember hitting the water and being overwhelmed by a peaceful feeling,” he said.

“I thought, this is it. My next recollection is seeing a fireman in a black coat yelling down at someone who was helping me in the water. Then I woke up in the Queens Medical Centre.”

Canberra Class Amphibious Ship, HMAS Canberra is visiting Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as part of the Australian Defence Force commitment to Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016.

The ship is currently at sea as part of the world’s largest maritime exercise involving 25,000 people from 26 countries.

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