Local Hero: Nathan McSween

Three teenage boys owe their life to a Warrnambool man who saved them from being swept out to sea at Point Ritchie, Warrnambool following the record floods which swept the state of Victoria in 2011.

Along with others who were enjoying the summer evening on the beach, Nathan McSween and his wife Erin were walking their dogs near the Hopkins River mouth when they heard the screams of the three teens who had been swimming in the fast-flowing river.

“One of them was out in the breakers and the other two were on the rocks,” Mr McSween said. “So I went out and got him – if I didn’t, he was probably gone.”

Mr McSween braved the strong current of the Hopkins which was boosted by the floods upstream, and swam 20 or 30 metres to rescue the boy, to the cheers of the spectators on the beach.

He said the teen was in a bit of shock when he reached him. “I told him what to do so we could get back in, and he said, ‘just hold on to me’. It was a bit of a struggle to get back in.”

After bringing the boy back to shore, Mr McSween then swam out to the rocks and brought the other two boys back safely. The boys, aged 13 and 14, were all from Warrnambool.

Mr McSween laughed at the suggestion that he was a hero, joking that he didn’t make a habit of saving people’s lives. “I was just in the right place at the right time.”