By Nicholas Chin.
Six men from the Australian Navy have been recognised for their brave efforts when they saved asylum-seekers from a boat explosion off Australia’s north-west coast in 2009.
Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley 17 medals at Government House to pay tribute to acts of bravery.
The six seamen were awarded the group bravery award following their interception of a boat carrying 49 people from Afghanistan.
Midshipman Christopher Saville vivdly remembers what happened that day.
“I was having breakfast at the time, and then there was a message over the pipes that there was an explosion,” Mr Saville said.
“We were coming around to the back of the boat and there was all this smoke. As we got closer we could tell there were debris and people in the water.”
Mr Saville said the navy’s training prepared him for dangerous situations such as the 2009 boat explosion.
“The navy offers fantastic training, right through from when you first join to when you get out there,” Mr Saville said.
“We just acted instinctively. The training definitely prepared us for anything we could face.”
Able Seaman Michael Lordan was barely legal to drink a beer, yet he was one of the men onboard the HMAS Albany that assisted in the rescue efforts.
“I only turned 18 about three months before the incident happened,” Mr Lordan said.
“I saw people with massive amounts of burns to their body, dead bodies, people screaming and pulling others out of the fire.”
Mr Lordan said it was an honour to be recognised as a hero.
“It’s a massive honour just to be even considered for the award, we are all proud of what we did,” Mr Lordan said.
“It’s brought us together as a team and made us better at doing our job.”
Mr Lordan said after the experience, he is ready to take on any task no matter how dangerous it may be.