Father thanks 'angels'

THE father of a nine-year-old boy who suffered a cardiac arrest at Collingwood Beach on Thursday has described the event as a “nightmare filled with angels”.

He told the South Coast Register he wanted to pass on his gratitude to everyone who came to his family’s aid, particularly Mr Clayton who he said had a calming influence on those involved.

The family is keeping a bedside vigil at the hospital, and at this stage did not wish to make their son’s name public.

The boy remains in a stable condition.

“The people on the beach, the ambulance guys, the police and the hospital staff were absolutely fabulous,” he told the Register on Friday.

“This has been an absolute nightmare filled with angels.”

The young boy was chasing a plastic bag that had contained the family’s sun cream when he collapsed.

“The wind grabbed the plastic. I said to my son to run and grab it.

“He took off like a rabbit after it. He’s a very athletic kid. He does martial arts a few days a week, plays cricket and soccer, he’s not overweight, he’s more of a skin and bones boy.

“There had been no indication of any heart problems.

“He collapsed on the beach and my wife discovered him.

“I noticed her distress so I ran to her and picked him up and carried him about 50 metres to the entrance to the beach. Then my wife and I started CPR – we’re both trained in first aid.”

He said a man on the beach, also trained in first aid, came to help while someone came down from the street relaying instructions from triple 0.

“Mr Clayton was the fourth person to arrive and help but he was the most calm person among us.

“Between the four of us we took turns and kind of muddled our way through until the ambos came and then we stopped.

“They told us to keep going, so we did while they set up their gear.”

He said he and his wife were both trained in first aid, but believed the stress of treating his unconscious son may have affected their ability to perform CPR.

“Some of my training kicked in. I was just a mess,” he said.

“The shock and panic is why we were so happy to have Les and another guy helping us.

“I am a trained first aider for my work but once my kid is back on his feet I’m going to re-accredit myself every year. 

“My son’s condition is still serious but it is looking promising at the moment,” he said.

The family was on holiday in the Shoalhaven and hope to return one day to thank those who helped them.

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