A yoga teacher is being hailed a hero after swimming 500 metres into dangerous waters to rescue a five-year-old girl who had been swept out to sea.
Joella Enderes, 25, was on a West Australian beach on Wednesday when a ‘distraught’ man came running over to her asking for help.
‘I ran over the the river mouth and there was this five-year-old girl in a tiny little kayak and she was drifting out to sea,’ Ms Enderes told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I could tell how scared she was, she couldn’t swim, she couldn’t use the oar.’
Local marine rescue described Ms Enderes’ heroics as ‘the stuff of miracles’, saying the young girl ‘likely would not have been alive’ if not for her selflessness.
Joella Enderes (pictured) was on a West Australian beach on Wednesday when a ‘distraught’ man came running over to her asking for help rescuing a young girl who had drifted out to sea
The incident occurred at Augusta dog beach, south of Margaret River, early on Wednesday afternoon
The incident occurred at Augusta dog beach, south of Margaret River, early on Wednesday afternoon.
Ms Enderes said it was a windy day and the extreme current meant the conditions were treacherous for non-experienced swimmers.
The young girl, Noema Sampson, was kayaking with her younger sisters and aunt, who were distracted by a pod of dolphins.
‘She was drifting out at a fast rate. She was right where the waves were crashing,’ Ms Enderes said.
Having grown up in the Augusta area, Ms Enderes was familiar with the beach, its swell indicators and current placements, which proved crucial to young Noema’s rescue.
Yet still, the young girl had drifted hundreds of metres out to sea and her hero had a monumental swim ahead of her.
‘I’m an experienced swimmer, I grew up near the water, I’m comfortable in the water but I wasn’t used to swimming that far,’ she said.
‘The local policeman said it was 500 metres out. When i got halfway I was like oh my goodness am I really going to get to her?’
Having grown up in the Augusta area, Ms Enderes was familiar with the beach, its swell indicators and current placements, which proved crucial to young Noema’s rescue
Ms Enderes said she wasn’t afraid for her own safety, but given the recent spate of shark sightings and attacks, she ‘thought definitely crossed my mind.’
‘It took at least 20 minutes to get out there. Once I was about 50 metres away I was waving at her and letting her know I was there and encouraging her to paddle towards to me because she was drifting and I was drifting.’
‘I was yelling at her to paddle towards me, and she was saying: ‘I can’t’.’
The pair were in extremely deep water by the time Ms Enderes reached the kayak, so she climbed into the vessel and made sure her young passenger was fine.
‘She sat on my lap, we had a little talk and made sure she was OK. We had a good talk and paddled us back, it took us about 30 minutes to paddle against the current.’
Noema was in good spirits by the time they arrived back at shore, and her aunt and the man who alerted Ms Enderes were extremely relieved
Noema was in good spirits by the time they arrived back at shore, and her aunt and the man who alerted Ms Enderes were extremely relieved.
‘I didn’t realise in the moment at all how serious the situation was until I got back. It kinda hit me as to how close of a call that was,’ she said.
‘If she had gone overboard, which she easily could have in that swell, it could have very likely been fatal.’
The residents of Augusta and south-western WA will feel safe knowing Ms Enderes is patrolling their coastline.