Life-saving teen recognised

Brendon McMahon

A modest Kaniere teenager who helped save the life of a whitebaiter at the Hokitika boat ramp last year has been recognised for his bravery.
Westland venturer scout Cade McInnes, 15, has received a gallantry award — the chief scout commendation for meritorious conduct — for saving a whitebaiter who had slipped into a diabetic coma and fell face down into the Hokitika River last October.
Temuka man Len Booth was whitebaiting at the boat ramp when he passed out and ended up face down in the water.
Cade was on a break from his own whitebaiting and was heading over to talk to Mr Booth after ordering fish and chips from the nearby takeaways. “I looked down from the stopbank and saw him face down in the water. My instincts took over and I ran down and pulled his head out of the water,” he told the Guardian after the event.
Mr Booth was unconscious and unresponsive. For several minutes Cade kept the stricken man’s head above water while calling for help, attracting the attention of nearby whitebaiters and walkers.
Once emergency services arrived Cade quietly slipped away and returned to his whitebaiting without mentioning a word of what had happened.
It was not until that night when he sat down with his family for dinner that he mentioned the day’s events, completely surprising them as they had no idea about the near drowning.
“Maybe I’m a hero, but I don’t really think so. I was just doing what anybody would do,” Cade told the Guardian at the time.
Mr Booth later made a full recovery.
Westland-Buller Scouts zone leader Wayne Noble said Cade had personally received his gallantry accolade from Scouting NZ national commissioner Kelly Bleakley, who travelled from Auckland to present the award last week. “Cade, as far as we know, is the first youth member of scouting on the West Coast to get a gallantry award,” Mr Noble said.