Heroic groms praised for preventing second Peregian tragedy
Three local groms who "live and breathe" the ocean have emerged as the unsung heroes of Sunday morning's drowning tragedy at Peregian Beach.
The proud mothers of Carter Bourke, 13, and his inseparable surfing mates Jai and Zayde Taylor, two brothers aged 13 and 11, said their quick actions that morning saved the life of a second man who was about to sink beneath the surface.
Lauren Bourke and Stephanie Taylor said the boys worked as a team after responding to a cry for help from Mr Hancock's companion, reportedly his carer.
"They did an amazing job," Ms Bourke said.
"Carter said they saw these two guys sitting on the beach, so they went out and started surfing and the next thing they noticed this guy was screaming out for help.
"Carter paddled over and said 'are you all right mate?'.
"He was literally going under," she said.
Ms Taylor said Zayde was the first to reach the distressed swimmer who was caught in a rip north of the flagged patrol area.
"Zayde is only 11 and his board is only tiny, there is no way it could have been able to float someone his size," Ms Taylor said.
Carter said when the swimmer started screaming "help", he paddled over and secured him to the side of the board and started the hard slog in.
"He was just holding on as we slowly made our way through (the break) and as that was happening Jai was waving his hands and pointing at us to the surf patrol," Carter said.
"I got him in and he said 'there's another guy out there'.
"So me and Zayde sprinted up to the lifeguards and said there's a guy out there and he's drowning, so they got the jet ski," he said.
Ms Bourke said 67-year-old swimmer Edouard Hancock's body was eventually retrieved by the lifesavers last Sunday.
"The police came to our house and said, 'you know what, if you guys weren't there would have been two fatalities'," she said.
"It is heroic and it should be recognised.
"We've always taught them CPR and board skill rolls, and this is not the first time they've put them to use."
Ms Taylor said some months back, again at Peregian Beach, the three boys came across two men struggling with the break and helped them back to shore.
Sergeant Peter Blake of Coolum Beach Police, who attended the beach drowning, said the boys' actions were fantastic.
"For them to be mature enough to put themselves out to rescue someone else was a mighty effort in very difficult circumstances that a lot of adults would have trouble dealing with afterwards," Sgt Blake said.
He said the surf conditions at Peregian that day were treacherous and the safe place to be was between the flags.
Carter, a member of Coolum Boardriders, and Jai are both in the Sunshine Beach State High School surfing excellence program while both Taylor boys are bodyboarding state champions.
"They surf out the front every single day, they're very comfortable in the water," Ms Taylor said.
Carter said it was a "really good feeling" to have been able to have prevented a second tragedy on Sunday.