News / Featured / 14th October 2021
Bravery award for Coona man
A young Coonabarabran man has been recognised for his actions after saving the life of a woman whilse swimming at Cape Keraudren in Western Australia.
Sam Redfern, who was born and raised in Coonabarabran, found himself dealing with the life-threatening situation 12 months ago.
Working in mining in Western Australia, it was during a break in shifts that Sam and a few mates decided to go camping and fishing a few hours drive away.
Later that afternoon Sam set off for a swim and walked to the shoreline.
From there, Sam had a 700-metre walk over a rocky reef to get to the water.
Tania Cosotti, who was camping in the same area, had also made the rocky trek to the water.
That’s when Sam said things changed in an instant.
“Within one or two minutes we realised the tide had come in a lot,” he said.
“We decided we’d better get out of there and started walking back.”
But the pair didn’t expect the tide to rise so fast and before long the water levels were up to their knees.
“Tania was walking beside me; she thought a fish had brushed her leg and she freaked out and then passed out,” Sam said.
“The water was still coming in really quick, so all I could do was carry her.”
It took Sam an hour to scramble to safety over sharp rocks in shoulder-deep water while carrying Tania’s limp body.
“She was unconscious all the way, except for the last 50 metres when she woke up and freaked out a bit again,” he said.
“I got to shore and I just collapsed.
“The adrenaline wore off and I was covered in cuts from the rocks.”
Sam broke two toes during the ordeal and said it was the thought of returning home to his family that kept him pushing forward.
“As I was walking I remember kicking my toes on some rocks and straight away I knew they were broken, but I had to keep going,” he said.
“Family is really big for me so I just kept thinking about returning home to NSW to see them.”
Sam said the incident came down to a stroke of bad luck, with that incoming tide of eight metres the biggest of the month.
Tania was rushed to hospital where it was revealed she had actually suffered from a brain aneurysm and not a panic attack.
A few months later, after Tania underwent surgery, the pair met up again in Perth.
“She couldn’t recollect any of it,” Sam said.
“So it was interesting telling her the story.
“She was really grateful.”
Sam received the Gold Medallion and the Gold Star Bravery Award from Lifesaving Western Australia.
“It’s a big honour, I didn’t even know I was being considered for it,” he said.
Sam has since made the move back to NSW and is now living in Newcastle while travelling to and from Gunnedah for work.