Victorian guitarist Sam Haycroft of punk rock act I Am Duckeye has been praised by police after he heroically paddled out to save a blind man whose boat had capsized in rough seas on Wednesday night.
The former Sydonia axeman says he was washing the dishes after a “classic nachos nosh” at his home in Ventnor, Phillip Island, when his neighbour texted, asking if he could hear someone yelling for help.
Recapping the action-packed evening, Haycroft says he rushed out to the backyard, where sure enough he could hear the “eerie call”.
“I’m straight into my 3 plugger Dad thongs, [partner] Paula hands me our favourite whacky stick and I’m jogging toward the distressed male voice on the fortunate lack of wind as we wouldn’t have heard him otherwise,” he recounts.
“I’m thinking I’d be smashing a window to hop into a house to save a fallen elderly person. But as I’m pelting through the dark streets it dawns on me that it’s coming from the beach,” he continues.
“I fang through the bush and dunes and enter the scene on the shore of about 6 people crowded around the high beams of a 4 wheel drive pointing out over the rocks into pitch black sea. His voice still wailing into shore.”
Police from the Bass Coast service area report that two men had gotten into difficulties in rough waters at around 4.30 that afternoon, when their tinny capsized approximately 200 metres off shore.
One of the men was blind (which police hilariously clarified in their press release as meaning “not drunk”) and clung to the boat, while his mate swam to the shore to seek help.
It was then that Haycroft arrived at the scene.
“I spot a young boy sheepishly holding a blue foamy learner mal and I figure stuff letting that kid go, I’ve got the Rocky theme song going in my head from the half kilometre jog, plus I’m old and smelly and have had a pretty good innings,” he reflects.
“And this is the point in the rescue scenario where everybody should please press stop on the inner hellperson soundtrack and think. I did.”
Despite receiving a text from his partner informing him that emergency services were on their way, Haycroft decided that he had no choice but to act.
“What I have to stress is that the reason I couldn’t stand by is that if that voice trailed off into the darkness it would have haunted all of us standing there on the beach till our dying days,” he explains.
“So I stripped to my grundies, strapped on the legrope, adrenaline pumping and that constant call for help as my only guide.”
In an image uploaded to Instagram, Haycroft has drawn an arrow with the approximate location of the blind man, with the qualifier “About there”.
“‘About there’ is where the guy was sitting on top of his capsized tinny in the dark in 12°C water/10°C outside,” he explains.
“I know it was past the red buoy because when we were paddling in, what I thought was another rescuer with a glow stick in his gob turned out to be the light from the torch in my chattering teeth reflecting off it.”
In a second Insta post, the ocean-savvy guitarist has relived the moment when he finally reached the man stranded in what police have called “dark, dangerous conditions”.
“I’m just 60kgs of wafer thin sex machine and he’s approx 90kgs of blind man wearing jocks and a long sleeve tshirt. But he can move and he has hope and the will to live,” Haycroft says. “He clambered aboard and I face planted into his cloaca and started us paddling to shore.”
“…Luckily I didn’t tell a blind man to swim for the light as that may have felt foreboding. But as my limbs were going numb I felt what must’ve been hypothermia saying ‘How ya garn?’ I slipped to the back end and kicked like nothing else as old mate’s arms are chugging along nicely.”
He continues: “Halfway home of maybe a 200 metre stretch, the sound of the jet ski was bliss. He sidled up to us and we got ol mate onto it and they hurled to shore.”
The blind man was then taken to Wonthaggi Hospital and treated for exposure, while Haycroft was hailed as a “brave local man” in the official police press release detailing the marine rescue.
“It’s all a bit overwhelming”, Haycroft tells Music Feeds.
Prior to last night’s daring effort, he had already garnered a bit of a rep for his legendary exploits. As well as bringing us such musical pearlers as Punching Dicks, Haycroft also caught our attention earlier this year after he performed a fabulous metal lullaby with Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe inside a children’s tent during Blythe’s Soundwave down time.
We never could have imagined he would trump that, just a few short months later.
Sam Haycroft: punching dicks and saving lives.
Watch: I Am Duckeye – Punching Dicks