‘He saved my son’s life’: Mum honours shark attack victim
Shark attack victim Matthew Tratt has saved a young man's life from drowning just over three years before, tragically, losing his own.
Sunshine Coast woman Rita Rumler said she would be forever grateful to Mr Tratt for saving her son Mitch, saying the 21-year-old would not be alive if it wasn't for Mr Tratt's heroic actions.
"I'll be forever grateful," she said. "And (Matt) will always be like a son to me for saving my son's life."
Mr Tratt, 36, was spearfishing with his brother off Indian Head at Fraser Island when he was attacked by a shark about 2pm on Saturday.
His brother managed to pull him onto rocks where bystanders, including an off-duty doctor and nurse, worked frantically for almost an hour to revive the man.
Paramedics and the RACQ LifeFlight helicopter rescue team worked on Mr Tratt, but his injuries were too severe.
He died at the scene.
Ms Rumler, of Buderim, has known Mr Tratt for 11 years through the Kawana Revival Centres Church.
She said he saved her son's life during a church trip on the Gold Coast on January 24, 2017.
She said the young men were swimming and surfing at Fingal Head when Mitch, of Kawana, was caught in a rip.
"Mitch had got himself in some difficulties and was calling out for help. Matt and his brother Rob swam out to bring Mitch into safety," she said.
"Matt almost drowned himself while rescuing Mitch, he had drained all his energy but thankfully they both made it to shore, where Mitch was then taken in an ambulance."
Mitch said he will always see Mr Tratt as a "hero," and will never forget the man who saved his life.
"If it wasn't for him that saved me from a strong current, I purely wouldn't be here," he said.
"Matt is someone that is willing to do whatever it takes to save another persons life."
Ms Rumler said she was devastated to hear Mr Tratt had died, saying it was an "absolute shame" he couldn't be saved the way he saved her son.
"I'll always love him deeply as a person because of what he did to save my son, and give me extra years with him," she said.
"Matt had bought a special surf rescue board just the week before. Who would have thought he would need to use it so soon."
Ms Rumler said the church dedicated its Zoom service to Mr Tratt on Sunday morning, with everyone sharing their favourite memories of the beloved member.
"I'll miss how genuine he was, and how a matter of a fact he was. You always, always knew exactly where you stood with Matt," she said.
"Matt was an amazing dad and an amazing husband, I never recollect him raising his voice.
"Those who never got to meet him missed out on an amazing opportunity, it was truly a loss in their lives not to have met him."
Mr Tratt who is an airconditioning contractor from Buderim leaves behind his wife Kayla, and two children Sienna and Taj.
"I will always have a piece of Matt in my home because he installed my airconditioning. His workmanship and his service was impeccable," Ms Rumler said.