Austin Beach of Hattiesburg Mississippi was recognized Friday, his 11th birthday, as a true hero by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. The young boy’s actions July 18 at a Destin Gulffront condo saved the life of a four year old Georgia girl when he pulled her motionless body from the bottom of the swimming pool. The rescue was captured on one of the condo’s surveillance cameras.
In presenting the award to Austin at the Inn at Crystal Beach on Scenic Highway 98, OCSO Major J.D. Peacock praised the young man for his decision to help the other child without a moment’s hesitation, a truly heroic reaction.
The 4 year old girl had stepped away from her mother and in a split second, had jumped into the pool. She immediately began to struggle in a pool full of people, who were unaware of her distress. Austin however noticed the little girl at the bottom of the pool, dove under, and carried her out. She was taken by medical helicopter to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola where it was touch and go for a while before she ultimately began to improve. She fully recovered from the near drowning thanks to Austin’s quick actions, the work of those on the scene who began performing CPR, and the medical staff at the hospital.
Austin called it “a pretty good feeling” to realize he had saved a life.
Video of today’s award presentation which includes portions of the pool surveillance video capturing Austin’s rescue are available on the OCSO YouTube Channel here.