Queenstown cop wins bravery award

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A Queenstown police officer who saved a man from drowning last year has received a bravery award.

Constable Aaron Redaelli was presented with a bronze medal from Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden this morning on behalf of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand.

About 60 people watched him receive the bravery award at a Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting including close friends, colleagues and family.

At about 2.15am on June 21 last year Redaelli received a call alerting him, and other on-duty constables, to a swimmer struggling in Lake Wakatipu.

The coast guard was called but couldn’t make it in time.

Redaelli removed his vest before jumping into the chilly water and swimming 40 metres to rescue a young Puerto Rican man.

“Someone had to go in and get him,” Redaelli says.

The constable felt honoured to receive recognition for his efforts but says it’s part of the job.

“It’s one of those things in the job you are bound to do some time,” he says.

The Puerto Rican, who had jumped off a jetty at Queenstown Bay, was taken to Lakes District Hospital and treated overnight for hypothermia.