USING lifesaving techniques gleaned from movies and cartoons, a nine-year-old girl has been labelled a real-life heroine in her community after she rescued a four-year-old boy from drowning at the Sigatoka River last week.
Speaking to The Fiji Times, Sigatoka Methodist Primary School Class Four student Mere Salusalu said she was proud to have saved Sela Naisaroi.
As her parents listened in, the young girl said she was on her way to her friend near Nawamagi Village that Friday afternoon when she heard a child calling for help.
"When I looked down at the riverbank, one of my cousins was crying and pointing to the river saying that Sela had fallen in," she said.
"I wasted no time as I ran and jumped into the river. Luckily, the part where Sela fell in was not that deep. I went underwater and carried him ashore and to my surprise he was not breathing.
"I made him lie on his back then I pressed his chest before lifting his legs. I was about to do the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation then I saw the water coming out of his mouth as he started to breathe again."
When asked where she learnt resuscitation techniques from she said "I never learnt it in school or from my parents. I saw this kind of lifesaving technique in a movie and in cartoons."
The would-be drowning victim's mother Makereta Lewaniwai said she would never be able to repay the young heroine for saving her son.
"Mere needs to be commended for her bravery and we are indebted to her for saving my son," said Mrs Lewaniwai.
"We thank her so much for saving my son and she has also taught us a huge lesson of monitoring the whereabouts of our kids."
Mere's parents Avenai and Adi Paulini Lalabalavu Naulago said they were proud of their little girl.
"She told me that afternoon she was going to do her homework at a friend's house and I got a shock when I saw her again with wet clothes few minutes after her departure. We are so proud of our little angel," said Mr Naulago.