Ryan Martin (right), with brother Josh.
Ryan Martin (right), with brother Josh.

Ryan Martin: Child-rescue hero's posthumous bravery award

A HEROIC Queenslander who died saving a drowning child has been posthumously recognised for bravery.

Gold Coast accountant Ryan Martin perished while rescuing a seven-year-old girl on Good Friday, 2016.

Mr Martin and several other Queenslanders will be honoured at the Australian Bravery Decorations today.

Toowoomba's Rihanna Milabo and her mother Shyra were in hip-deep water at Fingal Head, far northern NSW, when a flash rip swept them out to sea.

Ryan Martin’s mother Robyn and brother Josh. Picture: Adam Head
Ryan Martin’s mother Robyn and brother Josh. Picture: Adam Head

Mr Martin, who had been enjoying the day off with his girlfriend, raced into the ocean to save the struggling pair.

The 30-year-old reached Rhiannon and held her afloat while help came.

An exhausted Mr Martin was urged to swim back to shore by another swimmer, Luke Robinson, who is also being honoured for his bravery. But he refused to leave the child and disappeared underwater.

Lifesavers rescued an unconscious Rihanna and Mr Robinson and then went back to rescue Mr Martin, but he could not be revived.

Mr Martin's brother, Josh Martin, who also lost his father 14 years ago in a white-water rafting accident, described his brother as "one of a kind".

"On this day he did something for a stranger and put himself in harm's way but it wasn't out of his character," he said.

"We are so grateful that Ryan's been publicly recognised for his bravery and ultimate sacrifice to save a life, but we will continue to miss him every day."

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