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• Kathy Smythe and Cr Mark Edwards with a defribullator at the Bay Islands Transit Ferry Terminal on Russell Island.

Russell Island resident Kathy Smythe is a lady on a mission.

She wants defibrillators placed on all island ferries.

You see, if there was such a life-saving device on our ferries, her partner of 24 years, John Nevin Waters, might have survived a massive heart attack whilst travelling home from work in late November.

Despite a brilliant effort and immediate action from the ferry crew, John did not survive.

"I would like to seek input, support and approval from Translink for installation of Defibrillators on all ferries servicing the Bay Islands," she has said in an open letter.

She has also sought the help of Redland City Council's Division 5 representative, Cr Mark Edwards.

He has been inspired by Kathy's plea and believes that via Translink, council and other sources, defibrillators could be made available to all island passenger ferries, including the North Stradbroke Island and Coochiemudlo ferries.

Kathy, herself, wants to make a contribution.

She said: "I am willing to donate one defibrillator in honour of John to start the project, and welcome the opportunity to sit down with someone to discuss how we can bring this project into fruition."

Kathy says in her letter: "On 24th November 2014, my partner of 24 years, John Nevin Waters, caught the 8.10pm passenger ferry from Redland Bay as he had done many evenings prior.

John had finished his day’s work at Relationships Australia where he had worked for the past 5 years and he was on his way home to our home on Russell Island.

"Worried at his non arrival, the island Police pulled up in our driveway and my immediate thought was that John had had an accident. The Police were wonderful and explained that John had had a massive heart attack on the ferry and died.

"The officer explained the ferry had turned back to the mainland once it was noticed that John was in trouble on the ferry.

"Ben Haddon (deckhand) and other passengers on the ferry started administering CPR (ferry staff are trained in First Aid and CPR) and Darrell Penrose (captain) radioed 000 requesting emergency ambulance services to meet them at the Redland Bay jetty.

"However, John could not be resuscitated," Kathy added.

John was only 67 years old and about to retire.

"We were going to go off and do some fun stuff. John died way too young!

Kathy offered her family’s sincere gratitude to Ben Haddon; the deckhand who worked tirelessly to save John’s life, the ferry Captain Darrell Penrose, and those on the ferry who also helped Ben administer CPR (whose names she does not know); the Russell Island police who waited on the jetty with her, the ambulance officers, Police Officers at Redland Bay who showed so much compassion and empathy, and the wonderful Russell Island community itself.

"Kathy continued: "Many answers have been sought about what could have been done to save John’s life.

"After speaking with my doctor, it has been suggested that had a defibrillator been fitted on the passenger ferry, it may well have saved John’s life.

"Whilst nothing can be done for John, I am hoping that something can be done for others, and that lives may be saved in the future.

"As we live in a remote location with many aged residents and retirees, having defibrillators installed on the passenger ferries could literally distinguish between life and death in an emergency situation such as a heart attack."

Cr.Edwards is supporting Kathy's campaign.

"It makes so much sense that I can't understand why it hasn't been in place previously.

"I will assist Kathy to seek a response from Translink and I will look at other avenues.

"As well as Kathy's donation in memory of John, others have indicated they will contribute, too.

"I would be happy to hear from anyone who would like to contribute in any way," Cr Edwards concluded.


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