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Outback lifesaver

Wednesday, 1st February, 2012

LIFE SAVER: Riley Crampton (13) kept a level head on Australia Day and drove a family friend, who had suffered a heart attack, to get medical help. LIFE SAVER: Riley Crampton (13) kept a level head on Australia Day and drove a family friend, who had suffered a heart attack, to get medical help.

By Emily Roberts

A local teenage boy is being hailed as an Australia Day hero after he drove 80 kilometres to save a man’s life.

Thirteen-year-old Riley Crampton was on his grandfather’s station, Loch Lilly, on the SA border with NSW, last week where he was working and helping out.

On Australia Day, Riley, his grandfather Paul Grose and a friend of his grandfather’s, Paul McCarron, went to the Danggali Conservation Park to eradicate goats. 

The goats had been loaded and were ready to cart back to Loch Lilly. Riley’s grandfather left in a truck and told Riley to stay with Paul and help finish loading the rest of the goats and he would meet up with them later.

“I was nearly going to go with Pop but he said ‘No, stay with Paul’,” Riley said.

“We went to another dam and Paul said he had pain in his chest. I told him he might have indigestion.

“We got further down the road and the pain was really hurting Paul. It hit him like a ton of bricks. He had to get out of the car.”

Riley said Paul was lying on the side of the road because he was in so much pain.

“I thought he was going to die.”

Riley got Paul back into the Toyota then he unhooked the trailer load of goats, which was about 17 feet long, and then drove as quickly as he could towards Loch Lilly, 80 kilometres away. 

“As I was heading back to Loch Lilly I saw Pop and told him what was happening and that I was going to try and take Paul to Oakvale (the station next to Loch Lilly) to get help.

“He jumped in and left his own truck. When we got to Loch Lilly, Pop called the Royal Flying Doctor Service and I fuelled up the Toyota. We gave Paul some aspirin and spray he had to put under his tongue.”

Riley said the RFDS told them to go to the closest airstrip at the Mazar Station to meet the Flying Doctor plane.

“While we waited Paul was better but the plane took 15 minutes to come and he went downhill and I thought he was going to die in the car.”

Once the RFDS arrived they put him on a machine because he was having a heart attack.

“The RFDS doctor said I did really good and the nurses said I saved his life,” Riley said.

Paul was flown to Adelaide where he had an operation and was doing well, said Riley’s mother, Paula.

“I don’t doubt that he could have driven that far. I’m proud that he kept a level head and knew what he had to do,” Paula said.

“His grandparents are very proud.”

Paula said Riley had shown a lot of maturity.

“We are proud that when he is in the bush in the middle of nowhere he is aware of his surroundings, knew where to go.

“Every parent thinks their children are special but after what Riley did I think we have the most amazing and special kid in the whole wide world.”

Riley said he had no problem driving the manual ute because his grandfather had been teaching him since he was eight years old.

“I was most worried when Paul was on the side of the road in that much pain,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have known what to do if he died.”

Riley said he kept talking to Paul while he was driving him back to Loch Lilly.

“I kept saying ‘you will be right, Paul,” he said.

But the frightening incident won’t stop Riley from going out to his grandfather’s station again.

“I want to try to go out on the weekend,” he said.

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