For displaying exceptional bravery and skill whilst conducting a rescue to save a man’s life at Quobba Station.
At 6:30am on the 12th May 2002, 28 year old Matthew Nash was washed of the rocks by a king wave while fishing at Quobba Station, just north of Carnarvon. With the help of a life preserver Matthew was able to stay afloat while onlookers sent for help.
Matthew was constantly being hit by 12 foot waves as they smashed against the rocks, reef and the cliff face. Adding to this, while fishing, Matthew had seen several large sharks swimming in the waters where he now was. Matthew was later quoted as “There were only two things going through my mind. Sharks and the fact I might not see my wife Melissa, my 4 year old son and my 6 month old daughter ever again”
It was at this time that Mick became aware of the incident taking place. He skippered his 5.5m boat out through the breakers and to the urgent aid of Matthew Nash. By this stage, Matthew had been in the water for 3 hours and had all but given up hope. Onlookers were helplessly watching from the rocks and even had a high powered rifle on hand should a shark become visible.
After maneuvering his boat dangerously close to the rocks and the cliff face, Mick was able to pluck Matthew from the water. He was suffering from hypothermia, shock and several cuts.
Local police latter reported that if it had not been for the heroic and life threatening bravery shown by Mick Mickle, Matthew Nash would surely have died.
From the Carvarvon Police Major Incident Briefing Note:
Summary of Incident: at 0630 12.5.02 Matthew Nash and Jason Gibson have gone to High Rock located approx 800 metres South of Quobba Station to check the sea, while on the rock a wave has come over the rock forcing Nash into the ocean. Gibson located a nearby life preserver and threw it to Nash then ran to Quobba Station to advise Tim Meecham, the owner of Quobba who has telephoned police.
Action Taken: FC103 dispatched to Quobba Station, set up forward command post to do the telephone and sea radio availability. Constable has acted as an observer on the cliffs relaying information to the command post. Carnarvon Sea Search and Rescue notified who endeavoured to contact and utilise commercial fishing vessels inthe vacinity of Quobba. SES contaced and advised to prepare the cliff rescue team for dispatch to Quobba Station. Water Police, Airwing notified. Tropicair fixed wing aircarft and observer placed on standby at Carniarvon Airport and ANSAR adv by police observer at scene that a private vessel was heading to the man in the water. SSR were requested to make contact with vessel. Unable. The unknown vessel has rescued Nash, floating just beyond the break at the bottom of the cliffs. Police have met the rescue vessel upon its return to the Blowholes sand ramp where they determined the the “Grandys” skippered by Eugene Mick Mickle had become aware there was someone in the water, recruited and unknown volunteer from the beach and launched his boat and rescued Nash. Police at the scene noted that Nash was cramped into a ball, suffering from hypethermia, mild shock, cuts and bruises. Police conveyed Nash to Carnarvon Hospital for observation.
Critical Issues: High seas have deterred commercial fishermen who would usually be utilised for the rescue.