'Bravest little boy' shares incredible survival story
A YOUNG Sunshine Coast boy has captured the hearts of thousands after he shared his miraculous story of survival on Channel 7's Sunday Night.
Julian Hohnen's love of fishing hasn't faltered after he fought for life in cold and dark waters off the Sunshine Coast last month.
The seven-year-old Elimbah boy, his father Maike Hohnen and family friend Stephen Jeacocke spent six hours stranded at sea after their 5m tinnie sank off Caloundra on June 8.
The men clung to two buckets as they took turns holding Julian out of the water until they were rescued the next morning.
Mr Hohnen told Sunday Night senior correspondent Matt Doran it was his son that kept him going through the ordeal.
"Julian calmed me down and said 'it will be all right, Dad'," he said.
But after hours at sea, Mr Hohnen started losing hope. He told Mr Doran Julian came within minutes of dying as they waited to be found.
"He was in a very, very bad shape, and I thought it would have been minutes," he said.
"I just knew ... if he stops breathing, I just let the bucket go."
Julian was flown to the Queensland Children's Hospital in a critical condition, and was declared dead when he was unresponsive for almost four minutes.
But after he was put into an induced coma, the Hohnen family received the miracle they had been hoping for: Julian opened his eyes.
His mother Susan Cork said time with her little boy was more precious than ever after coming so close to losing him.
After his full recovery, the little hero told Mr Doran he wasn't scared during the ordeal and was just focused on holding on.
"I squeezed on the bucket really hard," Julian said.
"Six hours is pretty long, and on two buckets, floating out to sea, getting not rescued, waiting."
Mr Doran told Julian: "I think you're the bravest little boy in Australia."
"I am," he replied.