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January 4, 2012

'True hero': Medic killed in Australia canyon rescue mourned

The Advocate

SYDNEY — NSW helicopter paramedic Mick Wilson, who lost his life while rescuing two canyoners on Christmas Eve, died a hero, his wife says.

Nurse Kellie Wilson paid tribute to her husband and the father of three young children at his funeral at Sydney's St James Anglican Church, where the couple also married.

"He was my soul mate, my protector, my confidant, my best friend," Mrs Wilson said. "He completed me and made me a better person. "We became immensely proud of the life we built together."

 Mrs Wilson thanked paramedics, her family and friends as well as the public for their support. "I will be forever grateful to the actions of those who assisted Michael in the final moments and the ultimate tearful retrieval.

"It is no surprise to me that Michael courageously died laying his body on the line for his patients.

"A true hero in every sense of the word to the very end." NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell also paid tribute to Mr Wilson.

"It's a sad day, but what we see is the health sector, the community, coming together to celebrate a life; a life given, in the end, in sacrifice for others."

Mr Wilson's brother Hadyn said the canyoners he tried to rescue shouldn't feel guilty. Mr Wilson tried to care for his patient even after he was fatally injured on his last mission, his colleague Garth Thomson said.

Mr Wilson died after a winch line was cut during the complex rescue operation on the NSW south coast.

Copyright 2012 Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited

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