A woman who was part of an exercise class is said to have punched a man several times who allegedly tried to drown his son at a beach in Western Australia’s remote Pilbara region.
The man has been charged with attempt to unlawfully kill.
Emergency services were called to Dampier foreshore shortly after 6am on Monday after reports of the alleged incident.
WA Police said members of the public – reportedly an outdoor fitness class – intervened and helped to save the child.
A women from the class is said to have tackled the man injuring her hand in the process, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
The five-year-old child was taken to hospital for assessment, but was were not physically harmed.
Police allege the man drove a four-wheel drive into the water about 30m from the sand, before wading a further 70m.
The man is alleged to have forced the child’s head under water repeatedly before being thwarted by members of a group that had been exercising on the beach.
The 26-year-old Kickol man was arrested by WA Police shortly after.
He has ben charged with a number of offences including attempting unlawfully to kill and two counts of assault with intent to commission a crime.
He also faces driving-related charges, including reckless driving and driving while never having held the authority to do so.
He was refused bail on Monday to appear before a WA court at a later date.
In a statement, police praised the “bravery” of community members who intervened by allegedly hitting the man until he released the child.
WA Police Karratha Detectives Officer In Charge Jason Blaine told ABC Pilbara the bravery of the women had saved the child’s life.
“Without their involvement, their courage and their bravery to get involved, it could have ended a lot worse,” he alleged.
“They responded without hesitation and contacted the police.”
Dampier, located more than 1500km from Perth, is a major industrial port in WA’s Pilbara region exporting primarily iron ore, LNG and salt.