Sixty years ago, Thirroul's Bruce Smith was roused from his sleep at 10am.The surf lifesaver had worked through the night at a bakery when he was woken by police officer Max Auld."He said: 'There's a ship sunk and we want you to take a boat out'," Mr Smith said.The ship was the SS Bombo, which had gone down near Port Kembla 12 hours before.The ship had been carrying blue metal from Kiama to Sydney when its load moved during rough seas near Stanwell Park.The movement caused the ship to list to one side and its captain decided to turn the vessel around and head back to the safety of Port Kembla.However the ship never made it, sinking about 10pm on February 22, 1949. Of the 14 crew aboard, only two survived.Thorvald Thomsen made it to the breaker line off Bulli Beach about 10am the next morning where he was spotted by beach inspector Percy Ford, who assisted him. About the same time, Michael Fitzsimmons stumbled ashore at Woonona Beach.All this was unknown to Mr Smith as he raced to join a crew of lifesavers from Thirroul, Austinmer and Coledale to launch a boat from Coledale in rough seas. "It was like rowing up Mount Everest, only Mount Everest doesn't fall on top of you," Mr Smith said."We all jumped over the side."Everything went up in the air, the boat and us. I was under the water and felt someone brush against me and I grabbed him. When we came up he was unconscious."Mr Smith clung to his fellow lifesaver and brought him into shore. It was not until more than 50 years later Mr Smith discovered he had saved Norman Richards that day."I was at the Legends of League dinner and a fellow came up to me and said: 'You saved my brother's life'," Mr Smith said. The Royal Shipwreck Relief and Humane Society of NSW later recognised Mr Smith, Mr Auld, Mr Richards, Robert Wallman, John Cook, Brian Rodgers, Ronald Cobbold, Patrick Harnett and Colin Argue with a certificate for their efforts that day.