ONE minute he was an unassuming teenager walking home from school – the next, he was saving the life of a drowning man.
Griffith High School student Moslem Qannadian has been hailed a hero after he fearlessly jumped into a freezing canal last week to rescue a man he did not know.
Last Thursday afternoon, the unknown man, believed to be from the local Tongan community, was chasing a ball in Willow Park when he tripped and fell into the canal.
When 17-year-old Moslem caught sight of him, he was “going down”.
“I was just walking along listening to music and I thought they were playing, but someone was crying,” Moslem said.
“So I ran to the water and I saw the man was drowning.”
Not knowing what else to do and despite the fact the man was at least twice his size, Moslem quickly stripped off his T-shirt and jumped into the water.
“I didn’t think, I just jumped in and the water was really cold,” he said.
“It was scary because I thought I was going to go down with him.
“I was nervous because it was the first time I have gone in a channel.”
Moslem managed to keep the man afloat but was not strong enough to haul him out of the water alone.
Luckily, there was another man there to lend assistance and together they dragged him onto the bank.
When ambulance crews arrived, the hero simply “disappeared”.
“I went home because I was hungry and I had TAFE at 5.30pm,” Moslem said.
“The ambos offered me a blanket but I said no, I just wanted to go home.”
Originally from war-torn Afghanistan, Moslem moved to Australia in 2006 with his family.
While he was sad to leave his friends, he was relieved to escape the fighting and excited at the possibilities a fresh start held for him.
He never learnt to swim as a young child and was taught at age 12 by his uncle Reza in Adelaide.
“All my friends knew how to swim and I wanted to as well,” Moslem said.
“We would go to Adelaide for holidays and go to the beach.”
While he never expected to gain anything from his courageous efforts, Moslem said he was happy to have saved a life.
“I would maybe like to meet him again,” he said.
“It feels good to know I saved someone.”