Video of iconic lifeguard Terry McDermott heroically rescuing drowning child resurfaces days after his death
After 'Bondi Rescue' star Terry McDermott died of prostate cancer on Thursday, September 1, 2022, a video has surfaced that has left fans teary-eyed. In the clip, the famous lifeguard can be seen saving a little girl from drowning mere moments before a serious tragedy could befall.
The heroic rescue has been widely shared, as tributes for McDermott roll in from his loved ones. With a career as a lifeguard spanning over 30 years, he has saved countless lives across numerous locations and beaches in his lifetime. As a result, the video of one such rescue is being hailed by people as they mourn him. Terry McDermott is survived by his wife, Joanna, and son, Matt. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020 and had shared his journey on social media.
The video in question takes place on Sydney's Bondi beach where a little girl is in the water, surrounded by a crowd of other swimmers too. After a while, McDermott noticed that she was struggling to stay afloat and was frequently getting overpowered by the currents. The waves were too strong and the child was disappearing from view.
The lifeguard, with an extensive experience of over 30 years quickly jumped into action with his rescue board. "You've got to strip down, get the board, get in the water, hope you don't get slowed by waves coming in and sprint to the patient," he could be heard saying at the time. Fortunately, he reached the drowning girl in time and hefted her on the board.
"Thank you!" she gasped, finally relieved. The two returned to shore and McDermott found the girl's mother and informed her that the child had been close to drowning. "She was definitely at a point, at a serious point by the time I made contact with her," he said. Saving the little girl's life had come at a crucial point of time in McDermott, who had only recently lost his newborn son, merely a week after his birth.
"Especially with [rescues of] young kids like that, because I lost my son, I know that feeling," he said, speaking of what a parent goes through. "My boy was trapped in the birth canal and had complications which cut the oxygen off for ten minutes, but the result was a week later he died," he added, speaking of his personal ordeal. "Whenever I do a rescue of a young child, that comes to the surface. If she [the mother] lost that beautiful little girl, she'd know what I'm talking about."
After the passing of the veteran lifeguard following a battle with prostate cancer, a stream of tributes flowed in. According to the Daily Mail, his colleagues spoke of him as "one of the nicest watermen to don a jersey." Trent Maxwell, McDermott's co-star in the hit Australian TV series also shared a moving message. "I will miss you mate, never a dull moment. You were a great waterman and always had some great wisdom to share to the young blokes. We had some great times together you will be missed," he wrote, also thanking him for "teaching [him] the ropes of lifeguarding."
Fans from around the globe were similarly heartbroken, revisiting the iconic rescue video, with one writing, "Watching this two days after Terrys death and I’m sobbing. What an amazing man, so kind, so caring, and genuine. I’ve loved him through all the seasons. RIP terry. I hope you are with your son now. Sending Love to Jo and Mattie." Someone else commented, "Rest easy Terry mate, thank you for your service. You saved countless lives and will forever be known as a hero in blue."
Another fan spoke of the impact left behind by the seasoned lifeguard, "I just found out today Terry past away. It's been years since I last saw him, but it saddens me greatly that he won't be around to brighten this world a bit. I always thought I would get another chance to race against him on sup boards (I never could beat him no matter how hard I trained ) or to just paddle out to the heads and watch the sunrise. He was truly a great human being and he certainly touched a lot of peoples lives."
"Sorry for the loss of one of your team members. I never knew Terry personally, but yet, this show made me feel like I did. What a beautiful soul, I send my condolences to the lifeguards that have worked with him over the years, to his friends, and to his family," wrote another.