'These are three guys who looked after a mate': Bravery award for trio who tried to save Kiwi

Sam Brown died aged 19 in March 2015 after he blacked out while returning to the surface near Moreton Island in Queensland. Photo / Supplied
Sam Brown died aged 19 in March 2015 after he blacked out while returning to the surface near Moreton Island in Queensland. Photo / Supplied

Three Gold Coast men will be honoured with a prestigious award for their heroic effort to bring the lifeless body of their Kiwi friend back to his family after a speardiving tragedy two years ago.

Sam Brown died aged 19 in March 2015 after he blacked out while returning to the surface near Moreton Island in Queensland.

The former North Shore teen, who moved with his family to Australia in 2007, couldn't be saved.

But Brown's Tauranga-based father, Wayne Brown, said he felt "lucky" to be able to bury his son.

"I was fortunate to be able to say goodbye to my son."

News his sons' three friends, Chadd Collins, Liam Slack and Kurt Zietlow, have been awarded Silver Medals by the Royal Humane Society brought even more comfort, Wayne Brown said.

"All I want to do is see these boys get recognised for what they did."

The trio made a plan and then spent 53 minutes working to bring return Brown to the surface after he sunk to the sea floor after the blackout.

Their efforts included diving to depths of up to 30m seven times to retrieve Brown - all of it without oxygen tanks.

Sam Brown and his girlfriend Tarsha Wild. Photo / Facebook
Sam Brown and his girlfriend Tarsha Wild. Photo / Facebook

Collins went first, descending to the sea floor, unclipping his friend's weight belt and pulling him towards the surface, Wayne Brown said.

He was met by the other men part-way and the trio then tag-teamed to return Brown to the surface as water police arrived, he said.

Police were so impressed they encouraged Wayne Brown to nominate the men to The Royal Humane Society Australasia, for its bravery awards.

"These guys, they aren't trained, they aren't military. These are three guys who looked after a mate."

Wayne Brown said he also wanted to get the message across that one bad decision on the water could cost a life.

His "beautiful boy" had gone back to get his speargun, after it became stuck in a rock, and then blacked out just before reaching the surface.

His son's friends had also mentioned later the current was going the wrong way, but the friends still decided to go in.

"If something doesn't feel right, don't go. You've only got one life."

Former North Shore teen Sam Brown's Tauranga-based father, Wayne Brown, said he felt "lucky" to be able to bury his son.Photo / Supplied
Former North Shore teen Sam Brown's Tauranga-based father, Wayne Brown, said he felt "lucky" to be able to bury his son.Photo / Supplied

- NZ Herald

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