THIS is the heartbreaking moment when Josh Martin met the little girl his brother died trying to save.
Since the Good Friday tragedy, when a current pulled little Rihanna Milabo and her parents, Shyra, 30, and Rickel, 32, from hip-deep water out to sea, the Filipino family had been hesitant to make contact with the Martins, afraid of the reaction they might face.
Seven-year-old Rihanna Milabo burst into tears as she was hugged by Josh Martin, it signified the moment two families – strangers whose only link was a tragic death – came together. (See the moment here.)
Kneeling down, he hugged a sobbing Rihanna, whispering into her ear, “I can see why he wouldn’t leave you — you’re absolutely beautiful”.
Ryan Martin was farewelled in an emotionally-charged memorial yesterday, at the scene of where he died trying to shield seven-year-old Rihanna from jagged rocks and 2m waves, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“We didn’t think anyone would save us,” sobbed Shyra.
“I didn’t know how they would react, but they are a beautiful family — they just wanted to meet Rihanna.”
“It all happened so fast,” she said.
“We were just playing in the water near the rocks and then we were swept out to sea.
“Rihanna would not be alive today without everyone who helped us.”
The family of the young girl has called for their “guardian angel” to be honoured for his bravery.
Toowoomba dad Rickel Milabo, 32, said he owed his daughter’s life to Mr Martin, describing the rescuer as a selfless hero.
“We will be forever in his debt — he saved her,” he told the Bulletin yesterday
“I want him to be given a bravery award so his family can remember what he has done for us,” he said. “He is a hero, our guardian angel.”
Our thoughts are with the family.
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