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Jet ski rider hails his heroes

Danny Buxton with his rescuers, Alexandra Headland Surf Club members Lex Heilbronn and Shane Baird.
Danny Buxton with his rescuers, Alexandra Headland Surf Club members Lex Heilbronn and Shane Baird. Cade Mooney

DANNY Buxton never thought he would ever see Shane Baird and Lex Heilbronn again.

The 40-year-old owes the Alexandra Headland lifesavers his life after a freak accident in the Maroochy River mouth almost ended it two weeks ago.

He was reunited yesterday with his saviours at Sunshine Private Hospital in Buderim, where Mr Buxton is recovering from a broken right femur.

The broken bone had missed nicking his femoral artery by a mere 1.5mm.

On Labour Day, May 7, the last day of the surf life saving season, Mr Buxton's jet ski flipped and landed on him after he hit a wave, breaking his leg.

As his friends struggled to deal with the situation, Mr Baird and Mr Heilbronn cruised by on an IRB.

They were on a northern patrol to the river mouth.

They put Mr Buxton into the IRB and took him to the nearby Maroochydore Surf Club, where an ambulance was waiting.

"I really want to encourage others to say thanks to those around them," Mr Buxton said.

"These guys were absolute champions, just real-life heroes. I kept passing out from the pain but what they did for me was incredible.

"I feel very fortunate to be alive ... if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here.

"I think we should promote our heroes more, including the staff here at the hospital and the paramedics."

Mr Buxton hoped to be out of hospital by Friday and off crutches in eight weeks.

Full recovery could take up to 12 months.

Speaking about the accident that brought them all together, a modest Mr Baird said he was just doing his job as a volunteer surf lifesaver.

"It's just part of the role," he said.

"We were lucky to be going by at that time. It would have been tough for his mates to get him back to shore with his injury."

Mr Heilbronn, the IRB captain for the club, said it was a horrendous injury.

"When you're stuck out in the water like that it can be hard to get someone that injured on to a jet ski," he said.

"He could have been in a fair bit of trouble so it's lucky we were going by at that time."

To thank the staff at the hospital, Mr Buxton has offered to pay for steaks tomorrow for a special pre- State of Origin lunch.

He is also helping to organise a big screen so that hospital patients can watch the game.

Mr Buxton said he would also make an undisclosed donation to the Alexandra Headland Surf Club as a thankyou.

Topics:  emergency services, hospital, jet ski, rescue, surf life saving


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