You read a lot about the crazy and foolish antics of unfortunate employees, but every once in awhile a real hero comes along. Such is the case of Paul Simpson, a 40-year-old Australian high school teacher who sacrificed his own life while working to pull five students out of a ferocious undertow during a school snorkeling trip on Surf Coast Beach in Victoria. He suffered a heart attack in the water after seeing his students to safety.
The basketball coach/biology teacher was overseeing the activity, which involved 15 students and two other teachers from Shelford Girls' Grammar School. First a freak wave swamped part of the group, then they were dragged into deep water and pounded by swells caused by a violent rip tide.
Working with the members of the Jan Juc Surf Lifesaving Club, the married father of one was able to help the five girls get safely to shore before going into cardiac arrest himself. Ambulance drivers tried to revive him, but to no avail. Conditions were too rough for the air ambulance to carry Simpson's body from the beach, and he had to be carried 500 meters to the parking lot, according to reports.
He was remembered as a "wonderful, wonderful man," by Polly Flanagan, principal of the school where he had worked for four years. The school was closed on the day of the memorial service and students have been offered counseling.
Next: Confessions of an Elementary School Teacher
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