POLICE have thanked two surf lifesavers at an Apollo Bay ceremony for their heroic attempts to save a drowning man.
Colac police Inspector Peter Seel thanked Apollo Bay surf lifesavers Quinn Matthews and Jake Cooper for their unsuccessful attempts to save a 42-year-old man who drowned at Wongarra, near Apollo Bay.
Mr Seel also thanked Leading Senior Constable Colin Cooper and Senior Constable Ray Doensen for their actions during the November 2011 rescue attempt.
Mr Cooper worked the radios from the beach while his father Leading Senior Constable Cooper and Mr Mathews went out to sea in an inflatable rescue boat to reach the man.
“Quinn and Colin Cooper went out in the inflatable rescue boat to try and save the male,” Mr Seel said.
“Jake was on the beach and he was the communications between Surf Lifesaving and Victoria Police, and relaying the information required for the air wing,” he said.
“The water conditions were dangerous. The sea was rough with large waves breaking onto the coastline.
“The IRB at one stage capsized and threw both Leading Senior Constable Cooper and Quinn into the water. They both managed to return to the boat,” Mr Seel said.
“The IRB then capsized a second time, which unfortunately caused both Leading Senior Constable Cooper and Quinn to swim to shore.”
Mr Seel said the dead man’s father spoke at an inquest into the death and thanked the men for their “brave” efforts.
“He expressed his deepest thanks to both Leading Senior Constable Cooper and Quinn,” he said.
“He added that he believed they absolutely put their lives at risk to try and save his son.”
Mr Matthews, 22, modestly played down his actions.
“It’s what we do,” he said.
“It’s all part of growing up in a small town.”
Mr Cooper, 19, said he was proud of the rescue attempt.
“It’s good to get recognised,” he said.