Autistic boy, 8, saves little girl from drowning.

A BOY, 8, has been hailed a hero for saving a little girl from drowning.

What is even more remarkable is that rescuer Matthew Kennedy is autistic.

But he leapt into The Entrance pool on Sunday afternoon to save Emily Gold, 3, of Killarney Vale.

Matthew had just arrived at the pool, otherwise known as the Ocean Baths, about 4.30pm with his parents John and Karen and his two brothers and sister.

He was the first in the water and saw Emily struggling and kicking to stay above the water.

“I could see she was in trouble and that I had to help,” Matthew said.

“I jumped in the pool, grabbed her arms, lifted her head above the water and pulled her out of the pool,” he said.

Emily, who was not wearing any flotation device at the time, was unconscious and foaming at the mouth.

“There was no response from her and people at the pool were frantic and screaming,” Mrs Kennedy said.

Mr Kennedy and the pool lifeguard immediately began performing CPR.

After a few minutes, Emily began to breathe again. The Entrance lifeguards arrived soon after followed by an ambulance, which took Emily to Gosford Hospital’s emergency ward.

Surf Life Saving Central Coast director Stuart Harvey said if it was not for Matthew’s immediate actions, Emily would be dead.

Emily stayed in hospital on Sunday and was allowed home on Monday.

Matthew Kennedy is autistic and suffers from a severe speech impediment and learning difficulties. He is a year 2 student at the Central Coast School for Children with Autism called Aspect at Terrigal. “Matthew struggles with the most simple of tasks and it is just incredible that he knew exactly what to do when it mattered most,” Mrs Kennedy said.

John Kennedy was a lifeguard at The Entrance for 25 years.

About a month ago, he began training his children of what to do in an emergency situation.

“We come down to the pool once a week and I run through what to do if they see someone in trouble,” he said.

“Matthew did exactly that in a real life emergency and saved Emily’s life.” Mr Kennedy said the whole family was quite traumatized by what they had witnessed.

“I couldn't sleep on Sunday night because I wasn't sure if Emily was all right,” he said. “We are relieved to hear she is home.”
Leah Davies Central Coast Express Advocate
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