A group of Queenslanders was honoured for acts of bravery today at Government House.

Among them, the six naval personnel involved in a fiery rescue from an asylum seeker boat off Ashmore Island in 2009.

Isobel Roe reports.


Proud family and friends looked on as emergency services men and women, and one civilian were honoured.

And receiving an award for group bravery, the seamen who boarded a burning ship of suspected illegal refugees, rescuing 44 survivors.

Her Excellency Penelope Wensley, Queensalnd Governor: “You handled a catastrophic, tragic explosion with great professionalism, rescuing scores of people”

The youngest, only 18 years old.

Able Seaman Michael Lordan, Bravery medal recipient: “I saw people with massive amounts of burns to their body, dead bodies, people screaming, yelling, pulling people out of fire, out of fire.”

Midshipman Chris Saville, Bravery Medallist:”I remember coming around the back of the boat and there was this smoke and there was all these dark objects in the water and we weren’t sure whether it was debris or people and as we got closer in, you could tell it was a mixture of just debris and people.”

But today was a day of celebration and recognition, and for the men a chance to reunite with old mates.

Midshipman Chris Saville, Bravery medallist: “Meeting up with the guys that you served with is always, always a good thing and you take those friendships with you.”

Midshipman Chris Saville is grateful for the navy training that he says prepared him perfectly for the dangers he faced that day he faced that day.

Midshipman Chris Saville, Bravery medallist: “We just acted instinctively, so it was quite good, the training definitely prepared us for anything we can face out there really out there really.”

Isobel Roe, QUT News.