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EXCLUSIVE: Meet the boy who saved his mum’s life thanks to watching Bondi Rescue

Nine-year-old Jesse knew how stop his mum from drowning after watching his favourite show - Bondi Rescue
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Bruce “Hoppo” Hopkins has seen his fair share of water rescues while patrolling Bondi Beach, 
but not many have impressed him as much as youngster Jesse Tait – who recently saved his mum from drowning in their backyard pool.

Jesse’s heroic actions were all down 
to watching Bondi Rescue, and seeing how lifeguard Hoppo saved people’s lives.

The nine-year old remembered 
a first-aid technique he’d seen on his favourite show, and put it in to action 
in order to save his mum’s life.

“I was a bit scared at first, but when 
I swam towards Mum I was trying to be brave,” Jesse tells Woman’s Day.

“I flipped her over [in the pool] and started pushing on her tummy in the shallow end – just like I’d seen them do on Bondi Rescue.”

The Tait family were enjoying an after-dinner swim last year when Jesse noticed something was wrong. His mum, Sarah, 34, had dived into the pool at their home in Shepparton, Victoria, but hadn’t resurfaced – she was floating face-down in the water.

Jesse swam towards her and pulled her to the shallow end while his dad, Warren, called triple zero. Jesse and his sister Hailey, six, stayed with their mum.

After hearing about Jesse’s heroic actions, Woman’s Day helped Bondi Rescue star Hoppo travel to meet his young fan and congratulate him in person for his quick thinking and brave actions.

Sarah is beyond proud of her son’s life-saving actions.


“When I first heard about Jesse’s rescue, I thought I was amazing,” says Hoppo, who met Jesse in Melbourne.

“Lifeguards train for years to be able 
to deal with those situations, so for a nine-year-old to be able to react without any training or knowledge at all is an incredible effort.”

Hailed a superhero by his family, 
Jesse was overjoyed to meet his own hero, Hoppo, and hopes to follow in 
the lifeguard’s footsteps.

“I’m really excited that I actually get 
to meet Hoppo face to face!” says Jesse, bouncing with excitement.

“When I first saw him I was speechless, I couldn’t believe it was real and not a dream. I’d love to be a lifeguard, too. I love helping people a lot.”

Jesse was so happy to meet Hoppo.

(Phillip Castleton)

Grateful for his son’s quick thinking, proud dad Warren, 37, struggles to find the words to thank his brave boy.

The father-of-two first thought his wife was joking, until his young son raised the alarm.

It was later discovered that Sarah, who had lost feeling in her legs after the dive, had fractured the C5 and C6 vertebrae neck in while entering the pool.

“He’s given me an extra 60 years with my wife. How do you repay your son for saving your wife?” says Warren.

“It’s priceless what he’s done. I know he’s destined for greatness.”

The Tait family know how lucky they were to have Jesse around that day.

(Phillip Castleton)

Now on the road to recovery, Sarah is currently undergoing six to eight months of extensive rehab at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in Melbourne, following emergency surgery.

The Taits want every family to take 
steps to make sure their child knows how to stay safe around water this summer.

“Teach your kids how to swim and 
make them confident in the water,” says Warren, who is also a guest on Hoppo’s podcast Life’s A Beach, talking further about the rescue.

“It’s so important not to get complacent around water… because life can change in a second.”

The Tait family know how lucky they were to have Jesse around that day.

“I’m pretty proud of my actions,” Jesse says.

“But it was a lot of teamwork – the whole family helped.”

The Tait family have set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for Sarah’s recovery. To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/helping-hand-for-sarahs-recovery

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