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“I Might Not Come Back.” 13-Yr-Old Dives Into Vicious Waves To Save His Little Brother.

A teen and his younger brother smile as they pose for a photo with four adults. The teen is being honored for saving his brother’s life.

Kalya Kandegoda Gamage, his brother, Kithme, and their mom were still new to New Zealand last August. That’s why, when they ventured to Chrystalls Beach, they had no idea there was a chance of unintentionally wandering into a dangerous area of water. They were just wading at the edge of the water when, suddenly, 11-year-old Kithme was taken away by a massive wave.

In that moment, 13-year-old Kalya didn’t even hesitate to take action. He knew that his little brother was in desperate need of help and that he could be the one to save him. With that, he took off into the dangerous sea, swimming around 196 feet to reach him.

“I told my mother, ‘Okay, I’m going to get my brother but I might not be back,'” Kalya recalled.

As terrifying as it sounds to venture these dangerous waters at any age, much less as a young teen, Kalya described the experience as being fairly manageable, oddly enough because of the waves.

“I took off my jacket and my shoes then I jumped and it was quite easy… because the waves were going right into him,” he said. “He tried to grab me, then I pushed him, then I told him to grab my shoulders and my shirt. So we went to the shore safely.”

In pulling off such a heroic rescue, Kalya has garnered quite a bit of praise, including from The Royal Life Saving Society, a drowning prevention charity in the UK. Each year, they present a Mountbatten Medal to a single person of the Commonwealth who managed to attempt or pulled off a courageous rescue. For 2022, they chose to give this prestigious award to Kalya.

“This medal is a testament to Kalya’s extraordinary act of valor, making him one of only three Sri Lankans to ever receive this honor,” a post from Mahinda College reads.

Tokomairiro High School, Kalya’s very own school, played a part in presenting the award to Kalya. To keep it a surprise, they gave him as little information as possible.

“He knew something was happening because he was sat in the front row,” Declan Sheridan, principal of the school said. “And then all of a sudden he got this, this fantastic medal, and there were 40 invited guests there as well.

As you can imagine, Kalya was quite surprised to receive such a prestigious honor.

“We’re very proud indeed,” Declan said. “We’ve got school values and he meets all of them in spades. He’s just the most wonderful student. He’s very modest as well… The word hero comes to the tongue really easily. He’s worthy of that title. He’s a wonderful young man.”

So many folks couldn’t be more proud of this young man, especially his own Mom.

“She’s proud of me,” Kalya said. “She was so happy because she thought Kithme might not be back – so I just bring him back, so she was, she was so happy.”

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

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