Port Lincoln police officer hailed as a hero following jetty rescue

SAVED: The contractor and police officer involved in the rescue can be seen in the water below the jetty.
SAVED: The contractor and police officer involved in the rescue can be seen in the water below the jetty.

A police officer from Port Lincoln has been hailed as a silent hero after he dived into the water to save a contractor who was forced to jump off the Whyalla Jetty to escape a fire on Wednesday.

The fire began when sparks from angle-grinding work on the jetty came in contact with 75 metres of plastic tubing, setting the jetty alight.

According to SAPOL Operations Inspector Mark Hubbard, the officer, who was in Whyalla for a training course and wishes to remain anonymous, was having lunch when he noticed smoke coming from the jetty.

Making his way to the foreshore, he could see the worker in the water was struggling due to the current - which was dragging him back underneath the jetty.

Instinctively, the officer swam out to the contractor to guide him safely back to shore, while other officers evacuated the other workers on the jetty to safety.

"He was drifting back towards the fire, so if it wasn't for the officer's actions the welder could have been in a lot of trouble...he could have been hurt and very easily drowned," Mr Hubbard said.

"Fortunately the man was unscathed, he was a bit shocked as a result of what happened but he wasn't injured.

"The officer concerned didn't hesitate, he knew what he had to do and he did it."

Mr Hubbard praised the work of all the emergency services involved in tackling the blaze.

"The Metropolitan Fire Service did a great job putting the fire out, the ambulance were there shortly after and police did a fantastic job," he said.

The incident is currently being investigated by SafeWork SA.