Reluctant hero to receive life saving award

Larry Sandberg is a reluctant hero who may soon be embarrassed by provincial accolades.

Larry Sandberg is a reluctant hero who may soon be embarrassed by provincial accolades.

The Port Hardy man who was vital in the sea rescue of a pair of fishermen a few months back is about to be honoured with a lieutenant governor’s award, despite the fact he says he’s no hero.

Sandberg said he received a registered letter informing him of the honour,  just after he got phone call a week previous to receiving the registered letter.

“They said on the phone that I had been nominated by someone to receive a medal,” said Sandberg, who works as the health and safety and first aid worker at Neucel Specialty Cellulose in Port Alice.

“They asked some questions and said they contacted the coast guard, the police and it went to a nominating committee which decided I deserved the medal,” he said.

On Sept. 11, Sandberg and his wife waited out a dense fog before they put their boat in the water to try and hook some fish out front of Cluxewe Resort.

But the fog rolled back in, forcing the couple to beach their boat.

That’s when Sandberg heard a faint, “help” from somewhere out in the fog-shrouded water.

“It wasn’t panicked, but the voice said: “Help, we’re both in the water,” Sandberg said in a September interview.

Sandberg said he earlier noted a boat with two young men in it, headed for the vast kelp bed off the shore of the resort.

“I could only see out there about 150-ft, but I got a bearing on the sound and headed out,” he recalled.

Sandberg spotted the silhouettes of the men about 100-ft into the kelp bed,  turned his 12-ft. boat to the bed then shut off his motor to paddle the rest of the distance.

“I saw the back end of the boat upside down and the motor kind of sticking in the air for maybe 15 seconds before the whole thing went under., he recalled.

One man, from Sointula, was on the boat, and his male fishing companion was about 12-feet away.

“I told the guy who was chest high in the water standing on the submerged boat to wait until I transferred my weight to the other side of the boat and you roll in.”

That done, the other man in the water threw a line to Sandberg.

By that time a couple of Zodiacs appeared to help out. The rescue was incredible, said witness Randy Ball.

“Out of the fog came Mr. Sandberg’s boat with the two rescued men aboard, towing the upside-down boat behind them” he said.

“There was no way they could have righted the boat.”

Sandberg said he didn’t want to be made out as “some kind” of hero. “I’m just glad I was able to help out,” he said.

As of yet, it’s unclear what medal Sandberg will receive.

“They stated I was receiving a rescue award March 10, but there are different categories and I don’t know which one I’m receiving,” he said.

“There is one for merit, bravery and a gold one that is chosen by the lieutenant governor, but I have no idea which one I am getting.”

Sandberg  will be honoured at the annual Life Saving Society ceremony at the Hotel Vancouver in the Pacific Ballroom

More details will be printed as the become known.