Darwin sailor Able Seaman Carly Burke has been hailed as a hero after saving the life of a four-day-old baby while on leave in South Australia. Picture: Supplied/ADF
Darwin sailor Able Seaman Carly Burke has been hailed as a hero after saving the life of a four-day-old baby while on leave in South Australia. Picture: Supplied/ADF

Hero Aussie sailor saves life of newborn baby

A DARWIN navy medic has been hailed as a hero after saving the life of a four-day-old baby, despite injuring herself as she rushed to intervene.

Able Seaman Carly Burke was out for a morning jog while visiting family in South Australia when a car suddenly swerved and braked in front of her.

Able Seaman Burke said she knew something was wrong when she saw a man and a woman rush out of the front of the car and grab the tiny infant from the back seat.

Without hesitation, Able Seaman Burke raced over to help the panicked couple, spraining her ankle as she did and was told the child had "choked on something".

Grabbing a blanket from the back seat, Able Seaman Burke laid the baby on the bonnet and started CPR.

"The baby was blue around the lips and wasn't breathing," she said.

"I told the father to call 000 and to tell them I was performing (CPR) on an infant."

Within 30 seconds there came a moment Able Seaman Burke said she would never forget - the stricken baby's lungs filled with air and she started crying.

"It was most definitely the biggest feeling of relief but also accomplishment, not just because of a successful resuscitation, but also because when the infant started crying you could see the relief on the parents' faces - their fears and uncertainty vanished," she said.

Paramedics arrived as Able Seaman Burke handed the baby back to her mother and she was taken to hospital as a precaution but released the following day.

Able Seaman Burke's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Khan Beaumont, described her actions as "an exceptional act by an exceptional sailor".

Able Seaman Burke said the skills she learned in the navy which allowed her to help the family in its time of need was the reason she signed up as a medic more than four years ago. "I love this job because of the trust you earn and the people you meet, but also for the training we receive," she said.

"The ability to learn and work with the best medical professionals, but also the ability to adapt and overcome, especially with the situations faced at sea, is something you don't get anywhere else."

Able Seaman Burke said her training meant she was able to remain calm and focus on the task at hand.

"I had a baby rapidly deteriorating, but because I have been doing a self-funded paramedics degree as professional development and I had just finished a unit dealing with paediatrics, I felt confident I knew what was going on and I knew how to intervene," she said.