Best friend to the rescue

Toowoomba teen saves her best friend's life

HIGH school student Lara Skinner cemented what is sure to be a life-long bond when she saved her best friend's life.

Kathy Coolican-Layton, 13, is still alive today thanks to her friend's quick actions.

The students were camping to celebrate Miss Skinner's 13th birthday at Bestbrook Mountain Resort about 40 km north-east of Warwick on Friday when they decided to go swimming.

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They had been diving underwater when Miss Skinner noticed Miss Coolican-Layton hadn't resurfaced.

Her best friend was suffering an epileptic fit underneath the water.

Miss Skinner swam over to see what was wrong.

"When I touched her, she was twitching and when I pulled her up her face was blue," she said.

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Lara Skinner (right) saved the life of her best friend Kathy Coolican-Layton.
Lara Skinner (right) saved the life of her best friend Kathy Coolican-Layton. Bev Lacey

Although scared, Miss Skinner took fast and decisive action to save her friend.

"I pulled her over to the edge and with the help of another swimmer, and a nearby off-duty policeman, we pulled her out of the pool."

They determined Miss Coolican-Layton was still breathing and quickly notified staff at the resort who called an ambulance.

Miss Coolican-Layton doesn't remember much of the incident and woke up feeling confused and tired with people standing around her.

She spent the night in Warwick Hospital.

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The two Toowoomba High School (Mt Lofty campus) schoolgirls are inseparable and now their bond is even stronger.

"Lara saved my life," Miss Coolican-Layton said.

Kathy's mother Samantha Coolican said she was "still numb" after hearing the news and expressed her gratitude to her daughter's saviour.

"I think she's a hero. Without her, my daughter would be dead," she said.

"Kathy was inhaling the pool water while she was seizing underwater.

"Chest x-rays have come through clear, but we have to watch her for pneumonia."

Ms Coolican praised the Skinner family for their actions and also staff at Bestbrook resort.

Lara's mother Michelle Skinner said she was proud of her daughter.

"She did the right thing and called for help.

"She's a quiet girl, but jumped straight into action when her friend needed her."



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