Gold Coast Student Saves Boy

18/07/2010

Charles Tetaahi training at Gold Coast HQ.

Gold Coast full-time student Charles Temanihi Tetaahi has been hailed a hero for saving a three year-old boy from drowning after falling from a bridge into the Nerang River.

Charles, 35, a Grade 3 overseas student from Tahiti, has credited his Wing Chun training with giving him the strength to overcome his fear of water in saving the boy.

Charles was crossing the Chevron Island Bridge on his way to Surfer's Paradise on the evening of May 28 when he met the boy's distressed mother and uncle looking into the water below.

"I looked down over the bridge and I saw a little body moving in very strong current, hands in the air, screaming. I can't forget his face and the look he gave me at that moment," he remembers.

"I felt very strange suddenly and my chest was burning. Without thinking of what could happen to me, with all my clothes and shoes on, I jumped in the dark water."

Charles and the boy were carried by the tide another 50 metres downstream before they made it to shore with the assistance of a local resident.

You can read Charles' full account of the incident below.

Gold Coast Police have praised Charles for his quick thinking and selfless action which saved the boy's life.

Link: ABC News

 

Charles' Story

Charles Tetaahi training at Gold Coast HQ.

I am from Tahiti, French Polynesia, and I've been in Australia for almost three years.

I began training at the International Wing Chun Academy on the Gold Coast in July last year. My sister recommended the course to me because she believed it would help me to find a balance in my life. I'd never been involved in martial arts before and as a dance teacher, I knew that it will be totally different from what I used to do.

On my first day at the school, I found myself surrounded by a fantastic team of qualified teachers who care for every student in sharing their knowledge and skills. That made me feel good and I started to enjoy every hour I spent on my training.

I am someone who believes in energies and what I've learned has improved what I already have in me. The practical part of the course has made me stronger physically and mentally.

On Friday, May 28, around 6pm, I was crossing the Chevron Island Bridge on the way to Surfers Paradise when I heard somebody scream "call the police!" On the other side of the bridge there were a man and woman looking for something in the dark water.

I looked down over the bridge and I saw a little body moving in very strong current, hands in the air, screaming. I can't forget his face and the look he gave me at that moment. I felt very strange suddenly and my chest was burning. Without thinking of what could happen to me, with all my clothes and shoes on, I jumped in the dark water.

I have always had a fear of deep water but the only thing in my mind at that moment was to help that child.

I would say that my training at the IWCA gave me the strength to overcome that fear and stay calm.

My first year is finishing now but I will be back for further courses in the future.  I am proud to be a student of the International Wing Chun Academy and I would like to give thanks to the whole team: Instructors Erich, Richard, Mark and Holger and Atsuko for their help and encouragement.

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