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Soldier saves child
Infantryman leaps into a stormwater drain to grab a boy being swept under
Helping hand: Pte Kale Morrissey, of 5RAR, sprung into action to save the life of a 12-year-old who was being dragged into a storm-water drain
Photo by Justin Sanson/NT News
WHEN Pte Kale Morrissey, of
5RAR, took his dogs for a walk on
October 14 he didn't imagine the
leisurely stroll would end with him
in a stormwater drain searching
frantically for a young boy who had
disappeared under the murky water.
"I grabbed him just in time, as he
went under," he said.
The infantry soldier said Darwin
had received a downpour of 13mm of
rain that day.
He was the only person on the
golf course when he spotted a boy,
about the age of 12, screaming at
him and waving hysterically to try to
attract his attention.
"I saw someone in the water," Pte
"The water was up to his chin and
flowing really fast so he was being
sucked under a little bridge on the
course. But by the time I ran over I
could hardly see him.
"The water was right up to the
underside of the bridge so if he'd
gone through he'd have been entirely
under water and looking at it later
there was another deep drain under
there so he could have then been
pulled down through that."
Pte Morrissey jumped in and felt
under the water for the boy.
He grabbed him under the arms
and hauled him up on to the grassy
bank to safety.
"He was coughing up water and
was really dazed so he was incoherent.
He started dry retching and gasping
for breath," he said.
"He would have been so scared.
He didn't know I was coming and
wouldn't have known he was safe
until I grabbed him."
Pte Morrissey made sure both kids
were okay and then told the boy's
friend they shouldn't play in the
drains when it had been raining.
"The kid said sorry and thanked
me and promised they wouldn't do it
again,". Pte Morrissey said.
"The poor kid that was in the
water though, if it wasn't enough
nearly drowning, the force of the
water was so strong it had ripped his
The gushing torrent had been up to
Pte Morrissey's hips and although he
didn't fear for his own life, it did stir
up some painful memories from his
past when he served on Op Resolute.
"Obviously the Christmas Island
incident was 100,000 times worse,
what with the 10m waves and the
cliffs, but it sort of brings it all back
up," he said.
"It does just come back to me at
times anyway though."
Pte Morrissey said his Mum made
sure he never played in drains after
rain and he desperately hoped these
kids had learnt their lesson.
Although it was embarrassing
to share his story, as he didn't think
he had been courageous in helping
the two boys, he said it would all be
worth the ribbing he'd get from his
mates if his story saved just one kid's
"I just hope they stop to think
before jumping in to play in a drain,"
The water was up to
his chin and flowing
really fast so he was
being sucked under
a little bridge on
the course. But by
the time I ran over I
could hardly see him.
-- Pte Kale Morrissey, 5RAR
LS Helen Frank
LESSONS learnt will be the
theme of the ninth Military Health
Symposium to be held at HMAS
Waterhen in Sydney on November 9.
The theme is based on the
premise that those who do not learn
from history are destined to repeat
it. The symposium will focus on
ways to ensure that lessons from
deployments and exercises are not
restricted or forgotten.
Topics will include challenges
Defence is facing now, challenges
that need to be prepared for, cut-
ting-edge medicine, cutting-edge
research and geopolitical situational
Chairman Military Health
Symposium Organising Committee
Lt-Col David Phillips said the
keynote speaker would be Jenny
Hayward-Jones, Director of the
Myer Foundation Melanesia
Program at the Lowy Institute,
speaking on China in the Pacific.
"As the ADF moves back from
Afghanistan we need to refresh our
knowledge and look at the lessons
learnt of the major power in our
region -- China," Lt-Col Phillips
said.He said up to 150 personnel
were expected to attend the
The day will run from 8am to
4.30pm. Registration closes on
For more information on the symposium,
contact David Talakovski on
(02) 8335 5269 or email
THE Australian Defence Cycle Club
2013 Cycling Carnival was can-
celled after the tragic death of CPO
Kane Vandenberg on October 11.
CPO Vandenberg died of chest inju-
ries after a cycling accident during
the event at Mt Stromlo in Canberra.
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