Posted June 30, 2017


This one photo sums up the seriousness of Nathan’s situation. A huge effort by three Brazilians saved his life.

At Desert Point on June 16 things went very wrong for Nathan Bartlett. Luckily some quick thinking and CPR skills from three Brazilians saved his life.

Photographer Kako Lopes explains:

“Nathan was probably the best surfer in the swell, he had already picked up many tubes over two days. At around two o’clock in the afternoon, I was coming into surf and I saw Nathan trying to get into a good wave, but he was very late. He didn’t make the drop. It was only after two waves that I could see that the board was floating by itself. It was already distant, I saw that the bodyboarder Renan Farias came paddling hard towards the board and went too.

“Renan was the first to arrive, then me and Usman. Renan grabbed Nathan, we started to swim to the sand, but it was very difficult because of the current. That’s when we saw a fishing boat that Pete Frieden was photographing from. We paddled out. Nathan’s face was disfigured, he was pulseless, going purple and full of water, I saw we did not have much time. As Renan swam beneath him I decided to try the first massage (CPR) and see if he would support it. It worked.

“I started to paddle with one hand and massage with the other. Lots of water came out of his mouth. There was blood everywhere, the saddest scene. It took us about five minutes to get to the boat. I did not stop the massage at any time, from there came several surfers, we had difficulty putting him on the boat. I went up on the boat and followed the massage, so he gave the first breath, I could see that the space in the lung was too little, the breathing too short, I turned him to the right side, I stopped massaging and I started to pray.

“We took him to the nearby bay, took him out of the boat and put him in a warung. At that moment he woke up, recognized me, held my hand tight and asked me not to leave him. Then his brother and his friends arrived. We put him in the car and left for Mataram (closest town to Deserts). There he was cleaned and got stitches. After two days he was taken to Bali, where he had a proper examination.

“Thanks to God, Nathan is recovering well, the cuts were deep and very close to the eye, but he did not have any problem in the eye. He was without brain damage and the lung is improving gradually. He broke his nose, but yesterday in Australia they did the last surgery on his nose. Today he is at home with his wife and two children, one two months old and the other two years old. Amen.

Legends! Such quick thinking and great work definitely saved a good man’s life. Well done all.

Byron Bartlet, Nathan’s Brother posted:

“So glad to see my brother @nathbartlett123 alive and well after taking a bad wipeout at desert point last week. My family is forever grateful for these three heroes right here @rodrigocardoso94 @kakolopes @renanfarias95 for rescuing him and literally saving his life.??? Also thanks to @guybarts @rexakalenny@ivanhales @_balaram @usmantrioko and anyone else who helped my brother. #thankyou #desertpoint #family

Camerman Kako Lopes also said

“Apnea and rescue courses are essential for any surfer. We think it will never happen to us, but surfing is a very dangerous sport and that risk is closer than we think.”

Would you know what to do if your friend or another surfer got into this situation? It happens.

(c) 2017