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Cop dives into harbour to save drowning man

Sep 24th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

heroic MAINPOLICE constable Bruce Cook, who stripped to his underwear and dived off Petone wharf to save an 18-year-old man who got into trouble in the water.

William Fowles had jumped off the wharf to retrieve a tennis ball, but because of strong  wind and tide was unable to swim to shore.

Constable Cook was on patrol in Jackson St, Lower Hutt, with Constable Hamish MacDonald at 3.45pm on Thursday when he heard on police radio that the man was in trouble.

When he got to the scene, he could see the man’s head in the water about 20m away from the wharf.

Fishermen on the wharf had made a make-shift buoy to try and bring the man back in, but were unsuccessful. Police looked for a flotation device on the wharf, but there was nothing suitable.

Mr Fowles called for help once and was trying to keep his head above water, but was otherwise unresponsive, said Mr Cook after the rescue.

After Mr Fowles had been in the water for about 15 minutes – and with the police maritime rescue boat 10 minutes away – Mr Cook took off his uniform and dived into the water.

“His face was blue and he was very cold to touch. He wasn’t saying much,” Mr Cook said.

Mr MacDonald took care of the rescued man while his colleague got changed into dry clothes.

Acting Senior Sergeant Marc Clausen later praised the constable’s actions.

Mr Cook –  a policeman for 11 years, a member of the dive squad for nine and currently in the road policing group – was modest about his heroic act and said it was a team effort that helped save the man.

“Everyone played a part in the rescue.  Since it’s happened everyone has been so supportive.”

Mr Fowles and his family came into the Lower Hutt station on Friday to express thanks for the constable’s actions.

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