Drowning Kangaroo now Home and Dry

Andrew Hough, in The Sunday Mail, Adelaide, 25 September 2016, where the title is “Energetic kangaroo saved by courageous men from drowning in freezing waters off Port Elliot”

aaskippy-rescue-11 Jeff Della-Mina and Dan Marshall go to the stricken kangaroo’s rescue in the freezing waters off Port Elliot. Picture: Stephen Muller

He was an inquisitive marsupial enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon in the Fleurieu Peninsula scrubland. But for this energetic kangaroo, his curiosity nearly cost him his life after he hopped into freezing waters off Port Elliot, 82km south of Adelaide, and nearly drowned. Instead, two heroic local chefs, battled choppy conditions to save him as astonished witnesses watched including the state’s emergency services minister. The drama unfolded just after 4pm on Saturday when the kangaroo bounded from the Port Elliot Holiday Park, across the beach and into the ocean. Over the next 30 minutes, it swam almost 500m across Horseshoe Bay but became stranded near treacherous rocks to the south.

aa-kangarooThe stricken kangaroo at Horseshoe Bay off Port Elliot. Picture: Stephen Muller

The fully-clothed chefs, Jeff Della-Mina, 28, and apprentice colleague Dan Marshall, 19, who had just finished the lunchtime rush at the Flying Fish Café, came to the distressed animal’s aid. With little regard for their personal safety, they sprinted to the rocks, dived into the water and spent the next 20 minutes corralling it to the shore.

Initially becoming spooked by the human help, the exhausted kangaroo eventually calmed as the pair lassoed a rope around its neck and led to the beach where it “coughed up” a large amount of water They were met by local Country Fire Service and State Emergency Service crews, who wrapped him in a warm blanket on a stretcher. After an animal rescue expert observed it for another 10 minutes, the kangaroo made a full recovery and bounced off into the scrub. Mr Della-Mina, a chef for 10 years from Port Elliott, told the Sunday Mail last night how he raced to the kangaroo in trouble near dangerous rocks.

Jeff Della-Mina and Dan Marshall bring the stricken animal ashore from the freezing waters. Picture: Stephen Muller

“When we got to him he was pretty knackered and he was struggling,” he said. “We tried to corral it back to shore as it had tried to swim back out into the bay. I think he was happy to have the human help. “It was pretty cold. I would have liked to have a wetsuit. I think the run knackered us more than the swim. “We are not brave, not at all. It just needed help. We like animals and we just wanted to give him a hand.” Mr Marshall, of Goolwa, added: “I am just happy he is all right. I would do it again.”

Jeff Della-Mina and Dan Marshall signal all is well after their herculean rescue of the kanagaroo. Picture: Stephen Muller

The cafe’s “absolutely ecstatic” manager, Jo Smith, 38, hailed their heroism. She said: “They are pretty amazing boys I tell you. I think they are damned bloody good heroes.” Peter Malinauskas, the government minister who oversees the CFS and SES, was enjoying a family birthday lunch at the cafe. “All of sudden these two fellas still in their chef gear ran off and jumped into the water and shepherded the kangaroo,” he said.

SES officers getting the kangaroo ready to be taken away for medical attention. Picture: Chris Jones

“It was incredible, just bloody fantastic. Those fellas are absolute champions. Then these CFS and SES rock up. They had been going about an ordinary Saturday when their pagers went off and quicker than anything, they respond to a kangaroo rescue. Whether it is humans or animals, they are amazing people.”

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