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London, Ont. man receives St. John Ambulance award for rescuing family

FILE - Families, children and couples enjoy a day at the beach in Grand Bend, Ontario on July 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mark Spowart

A London, Ont., man has received a gold St. John Ambulance Life-saving Award for saving a family from drowning at a beach in summer 2021.

Bronson Deagle rescued a family of four last July while on vacation with his family.

“I feel very grateful, blessed, overcome with joy (and) just happy that this turned out to be a positive story,” he told 980 CFPL.

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Deagle says that day, he was looking forward to relaxing on the beach with his wife and two daughters.

After eating some pizza on the beach, his oldest daughter wanted to play in the water one last time and that’s when Deagle noticed something unusual.

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“All of a sudden, I see a little hand directly over my daughter’s head (and) I was so confused… And then I see the hand a few seconds later.”

He looked around for lifeguards but didn’t find any, so he ran down the pier, expecting to see one person, but instead, he saw two children and two adults.

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“There were four people all drowning at the same time,” he recalled. “(A) woman was face-down in the water.”

Deagle says his first aid and fire training kicked in and he jumped into the water and started swimming towards the family.

He carried a man to the side of the pier and told him to hold on.

He saw a nearby surfer and called him to grab on to the young boy.

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Deagle also recalls losing sight of a young girl and a woman in the dark water. He eventually saw a hand and felt a shirt underneath the water, and brought the two back to shore.

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The woman was unconscious, but was saved by Deagle’s CPR.

“We stood there in complete amazement,” he paused. “God placed us at the right place at the right time.”

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The father of two says his kids called him “superhero” after the rescue.

“(They call me) big guy, daddy, superhero,” he laughed.

The gold St. John Ambulance Life-saving Award recognizes individuals who have saved or attempted to save a life through the administration of first aid knowledge and skills, where a degree of risk to life exists, according to its website.

Deagle’s full interview with 980 CFPL’s Mike Stubbs is available online.

— With files from 980 CFPL’s Mike Stubbs

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