The Royal Humane Society of Australasia

ANNUAL BRAVERY AWARDS PRESENTATION

ANNUAL BRAVERY AWARDS PRESENTATION

Sixteen residents of Queensland will be presented with bravery awards of The Royal Humane Society of Australasia:

on Friday 11 May 2018
Balmoral Room, Level 1
Brisbane City Hall, Brisbane
at 1.00pm

The awards, One Posthumous Medal, Eight Silver Medals, Two Bronze Medals and Five Certificates of Merit will be presented by The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Councillor Graham Quirk.

The awards recognize the following:

  • The rescue of a man from self-immolation in his car at Mt Gravatt
  • The rescue of a fellow diver from drowning at Hutchison Shoal, near Cape Moreton
  • The rescue of four people from a burning car at Bracken Ridge
  • The rescue of a woman from a burning house at Rochedale South
  • The rescue of a man from self-immolation at Berserker
  • The rescue of numerous people from a burning building at Airlie Beach
  • The rescue of a woman from being assaulted at Toowoombav

Details of the rescues are attached.

Contact: Sue Cutler (Secretary) (03) 9650 3233
0400 441 467
Or visit our Web Site: www.rhsa.org.au
(see “Press Releases”)



Members of the media wishing to attend are requested to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled commencement of the presentation.

The formal elements of the presentations are normally of about 40 minutes duration.
Media interviews and photographs (by mutual agreement with recipient) would take place after the presentation ceremony.


Note:

The Royal Humane Society of Australasia, formed in 1874, is concerned with giving public recognition to acts of bravery by making awards to those who risk their own lives to save the lives of others.

Over 8,500 awards have been made in the Society’s 143 years’ history.

THE ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY OF AUSTRALASIA
CITATIONS – 2016/2017

To receive the Certificate of Merit:
1. MATTHEW JOHN O’BRIEN
2. AGNELLE AMELIA FRANCES BAGETTI
3. JAY STUART SHEPHERD
4. JASON PATRICK BANKS
5. BRENDAN SEAN O’BRIEN

in going to the rescue of a man from self-immolation in his car at Mt Gravatt, Qld on 25 February 2015.

At 6.00pm Sgt Matthew O’Brien, S/Consts Brendan O’Brien, Banks and Shepherd were notified of a man driving on the South East Freeway threatening to commit suicide by setting himself and his vehicle alight.

They saw a man sitting in his vehicle on the inside lane of the freeway. He was highly agitated, had a 5 litre fuel can on his lap, a lighter next to it and three knives in the centre console. The vehicle was locked with the engine running but not in gear.

Sgt Matthew O’Brien took command and negotiations between the police and the man.

S/Consts Hallam, Bagetti and Thompson then arrived on the scene as the man lit a cigarette, doused himself and the inside of the vehicle with fuel and removed his clothes down to his underwear. The man then ignited a fire with his cigarette and flames filled the vehicle.

Sgt Brendan O’Brien smashed the driver’s side window with a baton, reached into the vehicle and knocked the lighter out of the man’s hand. S/Const Shepherd grabbed the man and the officers pinned him against the inside of the driver’s door and pillar.

S/Const Hallam smashed the passenger window, entered through the door and removed the fuel container and knives with assistance from S/Consts Bagetti and Thompson. S/Consts O’Brien, Shepherd and Banks extracted the man from the vehicle and S/Const Bagetti removed the keys.

(Unfortunately Snr Consts Hallam and Thompson were not able to attend this investiture)


MATTHEW JOHN O’BRIEN CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
AGNELLE AMELIA FRANCES BAGETTI CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
JAY STUART SHEPHERD CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
JASON PATRICK BANKS CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
BRENDAN SEAN O’BRIEN CERTIFICATE OF MERIT


To receive the Silver Medal:

6. CHADD WILLIAM JOHN COLLINS
7. LIAM HENRY SLACK

in going to the rescue of a fellow diver from drowning at Hutchison Shoal, near Cape Moreton, Qld on 7 March 2015.

At approx 7.00am Messrs Collins, Slack, Zietlow and another diver were “free diving” where a diver holds their breath whilst underwater. .

The diver was 30m from the surface whilst being monitored from above by Mr Zietlow. The diver attempted to spear a fish but missed and as he started to ascend to the surface he went limp and sank back to the bottom of the ocean. Mr Zietlow attempted to free dive to reach the diver on several occasions but was unable to swim down to 30m.

Mr Zietlow raised the distress call to Messrs Collins and Slack. Messrs Collins and Slack jumped into the water and attempted to locate the diver. Mr Zietlow then proceeded to call for urgent assistance and let off 2 orange smoke flares.

A fisherman nearby saw the flares and came to help and assisted by communicating with the Water Police and dropped a safety float/marker buoy into the water to help the three men locate the diver.

Mr Slack kicked Mr Collins down to approximately 15m to help conserve air and energy. Mr Collins continued down to where the diver was located, removed the diver’s weight belt and proceeded to swim him back to 15m below the surface where Mr Slack took the diver from him and brought him to the surface.

Messrs Collins and Zietlow immediately commenced CPR but sadly the diver had passed away.

(Unfortunately Mr Zietlow could not attend this investiture).

CHADD WILLIAM JOHN COLLINS SILVER MEDAL
LIAM HENRY SLACK SILVER MEDAL


To receive the Silver Medal:

8. MICHAEL JOHN McGAHAN
9. MATTHEW JOHN GRACE

in going to the rescue of four people from a burning car at Bracken Ridge, Qld on 12 June 2014.

At 8pm a person contacted police to report a stolen vehicle at Bracken Ridge. There were three men and one woman in the vehicle and the driver was a known violent offender wanted for a number of serious offences. The stolen vehicle attempted to avoid a police road block and became bogged in long grass.

Sergeants Martin and Purvey and S/Consts McNamara, Grace and McGahan attended the incident.

Sgt Martin got out of his vehicle and drew his firearm but the driver of the stolen car continued to accelerate and tried to grab his own firearm from under the seat.

A thick haze of smoke was then observed at the front of the stolen vehicle and a short time later an explosion occurred. Despite the front of the vehicle being engulfed in fire, the occupants still refused to get out of the vehicle and the driver continued to accelerate.

Sgt Purvey obtained his police dog Astro while S/Consts Grace and McGahan moved to the front of the vehicle. The officers provided cover for S/C McNamara who used a torch to break the driver’s window, reached into the vehicle and removed the keys from the ignition. The driver then opened the door and again reached for his firearm.

Sgt Purvey deployed police dog Astro who bit the driver on the thigh and Sgt Martin and S/Const McNamara pulled the driver from the vehicle and restrained him.

Sgt Martin re-entered the vehicle which was filling with black smoke and removed one of the men who was still resisting. S/Consts Grace and McGahan entered the vehicle and removed another man who also struggled violently. A baton was used to smash the rear window to remove the woman occupant who also refused to exit the vehicle.

The stolen vehicle was totally destroyed by fire.

Unfortunately Sgts Martin and Purvey and Snr Const McNamara were unable to attend this investiture)

MICHAEL JOHN McGAHAN SILVER MEDAL
MATTHEW JOHN GRACE SILVER MEDAL


To receive the Silver Medal:

10. JOSEPH DOMINIC KELLY

in going to the rescue of a woman from a burning house at Rochedale South, Qld on 21 April 2013.

At 3.00pm Snr Consts Flaherty and Kelly responded to a disturbance involving a man and a woman at a residence in Rochedale South. It was believed that children were present.

On arrival, the police officers could smell smoke and began knocking on the front door and calling out. A woman came to the screen door but refused to open the door and went back further into the house.

Snr Consts Kelly checked the outside of the house for signs of entry or other occupants and heard someone inside closing all the doors and windows. The smell of smoke was getting stronger and flames were observed at the back of the house and in the hallway. Snr Consts Flaherty and Kelly attempted to force open the screen door to gain entry but were unsuccessful.

Snr Const Kelly returned to the front of the house and used his shoulder and body strength to smash open the front screen door. Snr Consts Kelly and Flaherty entered the house and crawled on the floor to where they heard the female voice. They located the woman, conscious and crouching on the floor and she would not respond to requests to vacate the house. The officers dragged the woman who was large in stature towards the door as she continued to resist and failed to confirm if there were any other occupants including children inside the house.

Snr Const Kelly again entered the house and crawled through it checking for any other occupants but was unable to find anyone and was forced to exit the house for his own safety.

Both police officers suffered from smoke inhalation.

(Unfortunately Snr Const Flaherty could not attend today’s investiture)

JOSEPH DOMINIC KELLY SILVER MEDAL


To receive the Bronze Medal:

11. DAVID MICHAEL HARRIS
12. JOEL PETER HARRIS

in going to the rescue of a man from self-immolation at Berserker, Qld on 7 October 2015.

At 10.54pm a man walked into a petrol station and picked up a pump, activated the nozzle and pumped petrol onto the driveway and around the bowser. He then used a cigarette lighter to ignite the fuel coming from the nozzle and sprayed the lit fuel, igniting the fuel already on the ground. The man then picked up another nozzle and ignited the fuel coming from this bowser from the flames on the ground. He then began waving the nozzles around yelling that he wanted to kill himself.

The service station attendant activated the emergency shut off and called 000. The fuel from the nozzles ceased flowing although the man continued to attempt to reignite the nozzles with the small amount of fuel that was dribbling out.

Mr David Harris and his son Joel observed the man ignite the fuel and when the fuel stopped flowing they moved towards him. Mr Harris requires a walking stick to help with his mobility.

Mr Hull drove also observed the man waving the ignited fuel pumps.

Mr Harris and Mr Hull both called out to the man to put the pumps down but he kept yelling that he wanted to kill himself. Mr Harris and Mr Hull moved towards the man and restrained him.

Joel Harris returned the nozzles to the bowsers and then grabbed the legs of the man and all three men carried him a safe distance from the bowsers.

(Unfortunately Mr Hull was unable to attend this investiture)


DAVID MICHAEL HARRIS BRONZE MEDAL
JOEL PETER HARRIS BRONZE MEDAL


To receive the Silver Medal:

13. NATHAN MALCOLM BLAIN
14. BARRY JOHN HARAN
15. DAVID MICHAEL MURRAY

in going to the rescue of numerous people from a burning building at Airlie Beach, Qld on 13 September 2015.

At 1.20am Sgt Haran and Snr Const Murray observed smoke emanating from the Airley Beach Motel. Snr Sgt Blain arrived shortly afterwards and the three officers were advised by members of the public that there were people still inside. The manager, Ms Bennion also advised them there were gas cylinders under the building and gas lines throughout the complex.

Sgt Haran and Snr Const Murray entered the building and searched the downstairs area. They then went to the upstairs accommodation area and conducted a door knock of every room. The officers located three disoriented people wandering around the hallway which was filled with thick black smoke and low visibility. The officers grabbed the three people, led them through the corridors back to the stairs above the ground floor arcade and pointed them in the direction of the exit and ensured their escape. Visibility was rapidly decreasing and it was increasingly difficult for the officers to breathe. Once satisfied everyone was out the officers exited the building.

Ms Bennion advised the officers that the owners of the building, an elderly couple, were unaccounted for and possibly sleeping in a ground floor unit of the building. She advised them that the elderly woman was hearing impaired and that her husband was visually impaired and they may not be aware of the fire.

Ms Bennion entered the building with the officers to direct them to the unit before they told her to leave the building.

Snr Sgt Blain, Sgt Haran and Snr. Const Murray entered the building and made their way through the thick smoke to the unit which had a glass frontage and glass sliding door. Sgt Haran observed the couple lying on a bed in the back of the unit. Snr Const Murray smashed the glass sliding door with his baton and all three offices then assisted the elderly couple out of the building.

Snr Sgt Blain, Sgt Haran and Snr Const Murray were advised there were still people possibly unaccounted for so they re-entered the building to search upstairs. They were only able to make it to the first hallway due to the smoke and zero visibility and choking and breathing difficulties. The officers called out but there was no response and they decided to exit the building.

(Unfortunately Ms Bennion was unable to attend today’s investiture)

NATHAN MALCOLM BLAIN SILVER MEDAL
BARRY JOHN HARAN SILVER MEDAL
DAVID MICHAEL MURRAY SILVER MEDAL


To receive the Posthumous Medal:

16. NORMAN LINBURG OLSEN

in going to the rescue of a woman from being assaulted at Toowoomba, Qld on 22 February 2016.

At 3pm a man assaulted his ex partner and tried to take possession of their child which she was carrying. As he struggled to wrest the toddler from his ex-partner’s arms they both fell over onto the pavement.

Mr Olsen who was driving past at the time told his wife “we can’t have this” and stopped his car.

He went over to the assailant and tried to pull him away from the woman. The woman then got up and ran away with the toddler.

The assailant punched Mr Olsen who fell off the footpath and onto the road and hit his head.

Mr Olsen’s wife and others came to his assistance until the ambulance arrived. Mr Olsen was then taken to hospital where he sadly passed away.


NORMAN LINBURG OLSEN THE POSTHUMOUS MEDAL