WHEN Adam Smith and Scott Skein heard desperate screams coming from the Goobarragandra River, they dropped everything and ran.
This action saw Mr Smith and friend Mr Skein awarded a bronze medal for saving the life of a 12 year-old boy, at the Royal Humane Society of New South Wales awards on Friday.
Mr Smith, a father of three who install floors for a living, was embarrassed by the attention.
Sam Rosen was trapped in a capsized kayak on January 21, 2012.
Mr Smith and Mr Skein were driving on a nearby road, towards a fishing spot.
They heard screams from Sam’s father David, who had braced himself against a rock in the current and elevated his son’s head to support it above the running water.
The rapids were 75 metres away from the rock and hidden by vegetation.
“We heard yells and screams … My first reaction was to dive in the water,” Mr Smith said.
He said other people who had driven by appeared not to notice the chaotic scene unfolding in the fast-moving water.
Mr Smith said Sam’s situation was dire.
“The kid has his legs in the kayak, he couldn’t get out, his dad couldn’t budge it,” he said.
Mr Smith dislocated his knee as he attempted to rescue the boy, but kept going with the rescue.
When they dragged him out of the river they immediately took him to where the boy and his father were staying.
For more than three years Mr Smith did not hear anything about the incident, until he got a formal letter in the mail.
“At first I thought it was a mistake because it happened so long ago,” Mr Smith said.
Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire applauded the men’s bravery and said the actions of “our everyday heroes should be recognised”.
“It takes a special type of person to do that,” Mr Maguire said.
“Australians have long been recognised for all sorts of rescues and heroic actions.
“I applaud these men for putting their fears aside and risking their lives by doing this.”
Mr Smith and Mr Skein said “it was nice” to be recognised for their selfless act.
“I hadn’t heard from them and to get this out of the blue was amazing.
“I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Mr Smith said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.