A dad who died on his 33rd birthday saving his son’s life after their kayak capsized has been hailed by his wife as a ‘hero’.
Peter Finch, 33, and son Jaxon, 4, were kayaking at Gwandalan, near Lake Macquarie, about 5.30pm on Friday when disaster struck.
The father-of-two held the toddler in the air as he treaded water until onlookers rushed over and dragged the pair to safety.
Bystanders and paramedics performed CPR but Mr Finch could not be saved. Jaxon was uninjured due to his dad’s selfless act.
Peter Finch tragically died saving his son’s life in a kayaking accident near Lake Macquarie on Friday. He is pictured with son Jaxon, four, and one-year-old daughter Shelby
His wife Natalie paid tribute to her husband of more than 17 years in an emotional post on Facebook, promising Jaxon and their 16-month-old daughter Shelby would always know of their dad’s heroism.
‘Peter, my husband, my lover, my best friend, my partner in crime, my hero, I don’t know how to do life without you!’ she wrote.
‘You have been my rock for the last 17-and-a-half years. No one has my back like you do! You are the most amazing, fun, loving, beautiful daddy. I promise the kids will always know just how wonderful you are, our hero.
‘The kids and I love you forever and always, to the moon and back and back again, more than all the stars in the sky.’
Ms Finch thanked the paramedics who desperately tried to save her husband’s life and everyone in the community for their support.
‘Thank you to everyone for your messages and beautiful gestures, we live in a wonderful community,’ she said.
His wife Natalie (pictured) paid tribute to her ‘partner in crime’ in a post on Facebook
‘Peter’s family and I would like to send our heartfelt appreciation to ALL of the first responders who tried to save our beautiful Peter and for saving Peter’s precious son Jaxon.’
‘Thank you will never be enough.’
Mr Finch’s sister Larissa said her brother was ‘gentle’ and ‘kind’ and was a devoted husband and father to his wife and kids.
‘Peter was a beautiful young man who loved his wife and lived for his children. So kind and gentle,’ she said.
‘He’s now in the arms of our past loved family members. Peter will be so greatly missed.’
‘Our family and friends are so heartbroken. The world is a smaller place now.’
NSW Ambulance said the Central Coast builder did everything possible to save his son in his final moments.
Mr Finch, who died on his 33rd birthday, has been remembered as ‘gentle’ and ‘kind’ by his sister
‘It appears the man has heroically held the young boy above the water when they’ve tipped over, saving his life,’ NSW Ambulance Inspector Andrew Craig said.
‘Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of bystanders and paramedics, the man was unable to be revived.
‘It was a very emotional scene and bystanders had done an excellent job in rendering first aid to the patient before paramedics arrived.’
The incident is being investigated by Tuggerah Lakes police with a report being prepared for the coroner.
A GoFundMe page launched to help his family get through the ‘toughest time in their lives’ has already raised more than $17,000 in 24 hours.
‘Peter was an amazing husband, an amazing dad and an amazing friend,’ the fundraiser page reads.
‘He sacrificed his own life to save his little boy, heroism at its finest.
‘We understand that times are tough and if you can’t afford to donate that’s fine, a simple share could mean an extra $1.
‘We thank everyone for their love and support during this difficult time.’