A schoolboy has nearly drowned in a creek due to the weight of his school bag.
Michael McLean, 12, was riding to school last week in Melbourne’s southeast when he lost control of his bike and plunged into a three-metre deep section of the Mordialloc Creek.
The weight of a jam-packed school bag, which included his clarinet, left him barely able to keep his head above water and fearing that he would drown even though he’s a regular swimmer.
He became numb in the cold water as he frantically tried to free himself from his bag which was acting like a sinker.
Luckily, Maarouf Matar, who works at Doyle’s Café on the other side of the creek, noticed Michael struggling and ran to his aid with a workmate.
The 32-year-old walked along the edge of a moored boat to eventually heave Michael to safety.
The boy said he felt “special” that people actually cared enough to pull him from the water.
Mr Matar said he was well aware of how dangerous the 12-year-old’s situation was.
Thirteen years ago, back in Lebanon, Mr Matar said he tried to rescue a drowning child who didn’t survive.
“The second I saw Michael in the water its flashed my memory,” he said.
Mr Matar continued to care for the boy until paramedics arrived.
The only injury suffered was to Mr Matar, who had a twisted ankle.
Michael’s family are still coming to terms with how to show their gratitude for Mr Matar’s heroic and selfless act.
Michael labelled his saviour “a massive hero”, while his mother, Gen, is still unsure how to repay the man who saved her son’s life.