Anna's heroic splash
ANNA Green loves nothing more than jumping in the water for her weekly swimming lessons but the seven-year-old never imagined her favourite pastime would help her save a life.
The brave Year 2 student put her skills to the test during a recent family holiday when she rescued her five-year-old cousin Emily from drowning in a Sunshine Coast river.
Her mother Elsie Green was watching the smallest members of her extended family splash about a pontoon in the Maroochy River when she turned her back for just one minute.
In that small space of time a couple of the girls, who she thought were following right behind her, got into trouble while they were waiting for a boat to pass them.
It was only when she heard screams coming from where she had left them, about 100 metres behind, that Ms Green realised something was wrong.
Little Emily had fallen into deeper water and was being swamped.
“Anna was lying down on the pontoon and reaching down to pull Emily out,” Ms Green said.
“She was upset and crying and her legs were bleeding.
“Anna was scratched too but there could have been a much worse outcome.
“I'm very proud of her.”
While she is relieved everyone came out safe and well Ms Green says her experience should serve as a frightening reminder of the need for children to take swimming lessons from an early age.
She said she had Anna in lessons from the time she was a baby and it was worth every cent.
“It only took turning my back for one minute and who knows what could have happened if Anna hadn't known what to do?
“But she was able to use the techniques she had learned from having lessons.”
Her warnings come just days after new figures released show that one in four primary school students making the transition to high school in regional Queensland doesn't know how to swim.
Anna's swim teacher Penny Elder said it was vital for children to not only learn how to swim early on, but also to continue lessons throughout their education.
Drownings were up this year from 302 to 314.