Saving lives is one thing – but doing it so well, you end up earning the plaudits of Queen Elizabeth is a completely different level. Tanner Gorille, a Cape Town lifeguard and surf club vice-captain, was virtually awarded the prestigious Russell Medal this week, for ‘the most outstanding resuscitation performed by a person under 18 years of age’.
The incredible accolade has been long overdue. Back in 2016, Tanner was a 17-year-old lifeguard at the tidal pools in Camps Bay. One fateful day, he reacted to screams coming from across the water. The teenager then swam out 20 metres, cleared the foam from the victim’s mouth, and successfully cleared her airways for CPR.
The woman was successfully resuscitated, before paramedics eventually arrived. She has since made a full recovery, and although this scene sounds like something straight out of Baywatch, there was no slow-motion on display here.
Tanner Gorille became a hero that day, and he got to share his story with Queen Elizabeth earlier this month.
“On one of our biggest public holidays, I was working at the tidal pool. A high percentage of our citizens can’t swim, but go there during the day. I saw a young female struggling, I jumped in and when I got there she was unconscious. I pulled her to the side of the pool, performed CPR, and I was lucky enough to see my training had paid off!”
Her reaction? Well, Her Majesty simply stated what we were all thinking. This was indeed “splendid work”…
Drowning remains one of the biggest causes of preventable death in the world today.— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) May 10, 2021
The Queen heard from lifesavers Tanner Gorille in South Africa and Sarah Downs in the UK, about the rescues which earned them the @rlsscw Russell Medal for a successful resuscitation. pic.twitter.com/UQVajk0XPf