Lifeguard training taught Lillian Bee Young a lot, but what happened on her first day at work definitely wasn’t covered in the manual.
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Lillian is 17 years old and lives in New South Wales, Australia. The high school senior had just started working at Iluka beach on New Year’s Eve when beach-goers started to point and shout at the water. The workers quickly assessed the situation and saw that a kangaroo, common in their area, had bounded out of the bush – straight into the choppy surf.
“My other workmate, Carissa and I, we were sitting on the tractor and she goes, ‘Oh my God, there’s a kangaroo jumping off the rocks!’ and we were just figuring out what we should do … because we’ve never had that happen before,” Lillian recalled.
The animal seemed confused by the fishermen standing on the rocks, so instead of turning back and heading back into the woods, he jumped right into the water! The poor thing bobbed around in the waves and went underwater several times before Lillian decided to take action.
As with any animal rescue, it’s crucial to approach the situation with caution. Stressed wild animals can become dangerous to their rescuers, and Lillian was aware of the risks as she grabbed her rescue board and hit the water at a run.
“It was just drifting out and didn’t want to come in [to the beach] because it was sort of scared,” she said. “I was trying to figure out how, if I needed to, get it on the board … but also it’s a wild animal … even though you’re helping I wouldn’t want it to hurt me or make it more stressed out.”
As beach-goers recorded the rescue on their phones, Lillian paddled behind the animal and guided it towards the shore. Another lifeguard urged swimmers and people on shore to give them space, and together they managed to herd the marsupial to safety. As soon as her feet touched the sand, the beach erupted in cheers for Lillian!
The bystanders weren’t the only ones who seemed grateful for Lillian’s help.
“It was quite special. There were people cheering and clapping … and then [the kangaroo] was just sitting there up in the bushes, almost, I thought, as a thank you … it was really serene,” Lillian said. “I didn’t think that was gonna ever be my first rescue … a kangaroo at my local, but it’s pretty special!”
This was definitely not your typical first day at work! It’s great to know that lifeguards like Lillian take their jobs so seriously. She may have more rescues in the future, but none so memorable as her first.
Watch this video of the Kangaroo rescue mission below, and be sure to share.
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