Long-time Glue Store model and collaborator Ethan Turnbull has been hailed a hero by U.S. media after rescuing a group of drowning teenagers in New York City this week.
The Aussie model was skateboarding through Central Park when the unthinkable happened.
A group of boys, aged 13 – 17, were taking selfies in the middle of a frozen lake as Ethan and his friend Bennett Jonas were passing by.
Suddenly the thin ice disintegrated beneath them, and the teens plunged into the freezing-cold water.
“I could hear them screaming,” Ethan says of the moment he realised something terrible was unfolding.
Unable to stand by helplessly, Bennett later posted on Instagram, “I had to make a decision to get in the middle of that or watch them drown”.
Ethan and Bennett rushed to the rescue of the boys, who were panicking and barely able to keep their heads above the water.
In a video filmed by an eyewitness the terrified teenagers can be seen scrambling to get out of their predicament, at times dragging one another under.
As Bennett waded out to them, the two closest boys desperately clung to him, nearly drowning him in the process.
“One of the first things I learned as a kid was never give your body to somebody drowning, and I learned that the hard way”, Bennett recalled later.
Bennett managed to regain control of the situation, and pass the panic-stricken boys to Ethan.
After rescuing 4 boys this way, which Ethan described as being like a game of “pass the parcel”, Bennett noticed two lifeless bodies that were too far for him to reach from the position where he was standing.
Already waist-deep in freezing water, Bennett took the plunge and swam out to reach the last two teens.
One of these boys was so submerged that Bennett could only grab the back of his backpack in order to drag his limp, unconscious body to shore.
@ethanturnbull and I tonight went out to Skateboard around Central Park. Passing a frozen lake we saw a group of 8 kids go though the ice. We ran over and immediately we're put in the toughest situation I think We will have to go through. 8 kids screaming for help being pulled down by each other, soaking backpacks and huge jackets. I had to make a decision to get in the middle of that or watch them drown. When I got about waist deep two of the kids jumped on top of me and pulled me under. I had to pick them both up and throw them to Ethan. I then grabbed a ladder and pulled the next 2 in. Behind them were two lifeless bodies that I knew I couldn't get too. I swam out and grabbed the last two guys and was able to get them to shore and keep them alive. I feel humbled and grateful that God called me to be there tonight, I'm still shaking and am completely shook by what I experienced, but I'm alive and so are 8 other kids who got very lucky tonight.
'Right place right time' – Fortunate enough to have been in the position to help multiple younger generation New Yorker's today. With out the help of my Buddy @bennett_jonas the outcome of this event would have been much different. Thanks to all the friends and family that have checked in ? NYC #helpingothers #nbc #nbc4ny @nbcnews @dailymail
Ethan and Bennett waited with the boys until paramedics to arrived to take them to a nearby hospital, where they were treated for hypothermia.
The mother of one of the young survivors addressed the media outside the hospital, and said “I just want to thank the two Samaritans who went out there to grab my son. I want to say thank you so much. Thank you.”
In the days following the heroic rescue, Ethan and Bennett were hailed as heroes by the American press, and even appeared on the GMA breakfast program.
Originally from Sydney, Ethan Turnbull has been based Stateside to further his modelling career.
In the last few years Ethan has worked with Glue Store on multiple campaigns and eCommerce photoshoots, and Ethan was the first choice for Glue Store’s new campaign, which shoots in New York City next week.
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