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Police officers in daring rescue to save drowning kangaroo from the surf

Selby Stewart, October 30, 2018 8:19AM Herald Sun

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A kangaroo has been rescued from the water by police at Safety Beach. Picture: Facebook media_cameraA kangaroo has been rescued from the water by police at Safety Beach. Picture: Facebook


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Two police sergeants have told of their daring* rescue, which saved the life of a drowning kangaroo at the weekend.

The amazing roo rescue was caught on film by onlookers, who watched as the officers dragged the unconscious* animal from the surf at Safety Beach on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and performed chest compressions*.

Sgt Christopher Russo and Snr Sgt Kirby Tonkin responded to calls that a roo was in distress* about 5pm on Saturday and arrived to find the animal in the arms of local residents.

Watch the amazing rescue video

“He had already been in the water and was exhausted to the point he was lying down with members of the public,” Sgt Russo said.

“He regained some strength and stood up and we didn’t want him to go anywhere but he turned around and jumped straight into the water.”

The kangaroo in trouble in the water. Picture: Facebook media_cameraThe kangaroo in trouble in the water. Picture: Facebook

The quick-thinking officers took off some clothes and ran into the water after the panicked animal.

“He had less than a minute … he went under and as he came up you could see foam coming out of his nose, he was drowning,” Sgt Russo said.

“I grabbed his tail and Kirby cradled his head and dragged him onto the beach and cleared his lungs to get the water out of him.

“Then we just started to push on his chest and he started breathing again and I could feel a heartbeat.”

The police officers take hold of the kangaroo to rescue it from the surf. Picture: Facebook media_cameraThe police officers take hold of the kangaroo to rescue it from the surf. Picture: Facebook

Snr Sgt Tonkin said the kangaroo was taken to nearby Rosebud police station and put in a cell to rest before wildlife services arrived.

“It is always a good feeling, I know it’s a kangaroo but every life is worth saving and we just did what we could,” he said.

McRae resident Mia Grant was on her way to the shops when she saw the animal bounce across the highway and onto the beach.

“I saw him swimming and started filming but he suddenly got caught in the backwash of the waves so we got him out and waited for police.”

Ms Grant said she feared the worst when the roo jumped back into the water, until she saw the police officer in pursuit*.

“You see a lot of bad things and to see someone so instantaneously* race in after an animal gives you faith in humanity*,” she said.

The rescued kangaroo recovering in the police cells. Picture: Nicki Connolly media_cameraThe rescued kangaroo recovering in the police cells. Picture: Nicki Connolly

Animalia Wildlife Shelter Director Michelle Thomas said animals were often scared out of nearby bushland by dirt bike activity.

“They often head to the water and kangaroos are very good swimmers but not at a surf beach,” Ms Thomas said.

The relieved roo is expected to make a full recovery.

“We will let him recover at his own pace but he has a paddock full of grass and lots of water to drink and he seems very happy with that,” Ms Thomas said.


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  • daring: courageous or adventurous
  • unconscious: not awake or aware of your surroundings
  • chest compressions: pushing the chest to help blood reach the heart
  • distress: trouble
  • pursuit: chase
  • instantaneously: immediately
  • humanity: showing kindness and care



  1. What police rank were the officers who rescued the roo?
  2. At which beach did the rescue happen?
  3. Where did the kangaroo go to recover?
  4. Are kangaroos normally good swimmers or not?
  5. What often scares kangaroos out of bushland?


1. Police report

When police respond to incidents they often need to write a police report, which is a document setting out the facts about the incident.

Imagine that you had been one of the police officers responding to this incident. Write a one-page “police report” about what happened. Your report should state the date, time and location of the incident; explain how you came to be there; what you found when you arrived; what happened next and how you responded; and how the incident ended. It should also include the names of any witnesses and what they saw. Remember to keep the report factual rather than stating how you felt or your opinion of the events.

2. Extension: Find out how the name “kangaroo” originated. Can you identify any other Australian animal, reptile, bird or fish names that have similar origins?

Time: Allow 30 minutes

Curriculum links: English


After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many wow words or ambitious pieces of vocabulary that you can find in yellow. Discuss the meanings of these words and see if you can use them orally in another sentence.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Have you or anyone you know ever rescued wildlife? What did you do that helped? How did you feel? Use full sentences. No one-word answers.

Extra Reading in humanities