Fiji Time: 2:16 PM on Tuesday 31 March

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Lifesaving is an honour

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, August 14, 2010

MICHAEL Osbourne is a real-life hero.

The quiet unassuming type, he prefers action to words and has been responsible for numerous rescues while working as a lifeguard at the Outrigger on the Lagoon in Korotogo near Sigatoka.

One of his most remarkable rescues was when he came to the aid of surf instructor Gregg Gardener and his partner Mesha Sternthall on August 22 last year.

The duo was surfing in a restricted zone when they were overwhelmed by giant waves and sucked into a whirlpool in waters near a reef situated between Sandy Point and the Outrigger resort.

Mr Osbourne spotted the duo and raced to their rescue.

The couple, who feared the worst, said in media interviews they would never forget him.

A man of few words, Mr Osbourne explained the reason why water rescue mean so much to him

"My biggest motivation for any rescue is that I have lost two of my dearest family members to the sea - my father who was lost out at sea and my dear nephew who was also lost to the water when he was just three years old," Mr Osbourne said.

"Every rescue is a reminder of them and how precious life is, being able to save the lives that I can save now," he said.

"So carrying the title of hero never sits well with me, but I am honoured and very humbled to be doing what my heart always wanted to do."

The lifesaver is a qualified silver medal captain certified by Surf Life Saving Australia.

He was trained and certified by life saving guru Tony Van Den Ended from Australia.

Nominator Paul McCulloch praised the 35-year old saying Osbourne's efforts needed to be recognised.

"If we were to list all the rescues and resuscitations Michael has done, we could easily fill a page in the newspaper," he said.

"And the amazing thing about him is that he just quietly goes about his business without talking himself up or anything of the sort." Mr Osbourne is currently in Queensland, Australia undergoing further life saving training.

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