YOUNG HERO: Jacob Crothers, 19, rescued a family of five from the ocean at Elliott Heads today after they were caught in a strong rip.
YOUNG HERO: Jacob Crothers, 19, rescued a family of five from the ocean at Elliott Heads today after they were caught in a strong rip. Katie Hall

Teen hero saves family of five from drowning

WHEN Jacob Crothers turned up for his shift this morning, the young surf lifesaver didn't expect he'd be finishing as a hero.

But that is exactly what Jacob would be to one Bundaberg father and his four kids.

About 11am Jacob, 19, saw five people struggling in the river at Elliott Heads.

With one year as a surf lifesaver and five years volunteering experience under his belt, the lone lifeguard on duty immediately raced into gear.

He grabbed a jetski and sped almost 200m into the waves to rescue an eight-year-old and nine-year-old boy and girl, taking them to shore.

Jacob then went back out into the surf to rescue a 10-year-old, 11-year-old and their father, who had jumped into the water in an attempt to save his kids.

The young man said at a beach where in the average week they "won't (even) do a rescue", pulling five people from the water was a shock.

While this wasn't Jacob's first successful rescue, he said this result was as good as he could hope for, with none of the kids or their dad getting hurt.

"When things (like this) happen, this was the perfect result," Jacob said.

"Some rescues are just bigger than others."

He said it was lucky he'd based himself on a rock wall where he could see both the Elliott River and the ocean.

"I rescued them in order of who I thought needed help the most, so the two youngest and then the rest," he said.

"The family were Bundy locals but didn't come to the beach too often ... they were exhausted and thanked me, but they were really tired."

Jacob said the rescue was a good reminder for people to brush up on their beach safety tips.

"Make sure to swim at a patrolled beach, at patrolling times and between the flags," he cautioned.

"Learn how to identify a rip and dangerous conditions to prevent these situations."



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