Australian Heroes Who Rescued Drowning Couple In Hvar Found

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by Tash Pericic,

October 9th 2017, the two Australian heroes who rescued a drowning British couple in Hvar on September 21st 2017 have been found, bravo Zen Joyce and Marc Johnson!

On September 21st 2017, a group of British holidaymakers rented a boat to explore the Pakleni islands in front of Hvar island, on their return trip back to Hvar town they encountered rough seas and their boat capsized, trapping one person under the boat and leaving the rest struggling.

We learned that a local guy Ante Žuanić was on the scene, driving into port on his water taxi, he tried to offer aid by throwing a buoy and line; Mr. Cartwright and Ms. Wilson managed to catch the line and they were pulled to safety by Žuanić and his passengers.

However, Craig and Jackie O’Neill were still struggling, that’s when two Australians from the Sail Croatia boat Almissa, jumped into the water and swam to their rescue.

Jackie and Craig put out a call to find the hero/heroes who saved them as, according to Craig:

“The only thing I did to thank this man was give him a nod. I want to thank him properly. I accepted I was going to die and he saved my life.”

No doubt everyone was in shock and didn’t have time to process what had happened but since then they wanted to find and thank the people who saved them.

Being that I worked as a tour guide and now run Total Croatia Sailing, I have a lot of contacts in the boating industry. After speaking to Žuanić, he informed me what boat the boys were on and from there it was a matter of tracking down the company – Sail Croatia and contacting the tour guide to get us to the two heroes.

Ivana Bradarić from Sail Croatia put me in touch with Aleksandra Rajca, the tour guide from the Sail Croatia group tha tthe boys were travelling in. She had this to say:

“I wasn’t the witness, I only picked up my group in port and that’s when I found out what happened. Most of them were pretty terrified and shocked because, after all, if it wasn’t for them, those people would probably be dead.

Anyway, as a tour leader, my job in situations like this is to take care of the group, so I did my best to calm them down. One of those boys who jumped in didn’t even take his clothes off, so he was drenched and the first thing we did when they got back was to buy him some clothes and then to the police station to make a report because he had all his money and credit cards in his pocket – everything was gone.

They really didn’t make a big deal of it, they just said it had to be done otherwise those people would be dead… really nice, mature guys.”

So, it’s confirmed, it was two Australians who jumped in the water to rescue the O’Neills – Zen Joyce (32) and Marc Johnson (24). Zen was the one to swim both Jackie and Craig to safety, we just spoke with them and Zen had this to say:

“I am just happy that everyone is ok and that we were there and able to assist.”

Honestly, I am thrilled to get this story out, not just to put the O’Neills in touch with their heroes (I can only imagine how they feel) but also because Australians have copped a lot of slack this year in the press about drunken debauchery and reckless behaviour but as I have said before – there are a million more positives that don’t make the news and THIS is one of them. Bravo to Marc and Zen for stepping up, taking action and saving the lives of Jackie and Craig O’Neill.

I have just learned that they have been in touch with the couple – alls well that ends well!!

Craig and Jackie O’Neill, Helen Wilson and Jay Cartwright

 

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