A quick-thinking teenager prevented a tragedy when she pulled a child from Lake Nagambie last week.
Maddy Boddington, 14, was walking along the boardwalk when she noticed Ana Chilcott, 5, riding her bike down the hill at speed.
Ana panicked when her bike picked up speed and hit a small barrier on the edge of the lake which propelled her and the bike into the water.
Maddy heard the child’s mother, Endah Chilcott screaming for help and when she learned neither Ana nor Endah could swim, she leapt into action.
“I emptied my pockets, took my jumper off and jumped straight in and swam over to Ana. I lifted her up and swam her back to the edge,” Maddy said.
“I then helped her to climb up the boards to her mum.
“Ana’s shoe was still in the water so I swam back out and got it and tried to feel around for Ana’s bike but unfortunately couldn’t find it.
“Endah thanked me multiple times and I apologised for not being able to get the bike. I checked everyone was all right and I headed home.”
Endah said she was overcome with emotion in the moment and regretted she did not get Maddy’s name or the chance to thank her properly.
She posted the details of the incident on Facebook to identify the person who saved her daughter. The post gathered thousands of reactions and more than 500 comments.
“Not only was I able to track down Maddy and thank her properly, but I had heaps of people offering to replace or go looking for my daughter’s bike,” Endah said.
“I was so happy when I found out who this brave young girl was. I told her parents what a great child they had raised, and our family will be forever grateful.
“On top of that, a friend sent me message that she and her family went looking for my daughter’s bike and got it out from the lake and left it in our backyard without me asking for their help.”
Endah said she could not be more grateful to be living in a community where the residents took care of one another.
“Things like this remind me of why I love Nagambie so much,” she said.
“Words can’t describe how I feel. It was so frightening but we’re so lucky it didn’t turn into tragedy.
“Maddy, you are a hero and you deserve a medal.”