The bravery and swift actions of surf lifesavers and lifeguards across the 2017-2018 summer were recognised today at Parliament House in Canberra, where they were presented with Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Rescue of the Month award for dramatic surf rescues.
Surf lifesavers from Sunshine Beach SLSC, Sunshine Coast Life Guard Service, Bundaberg SLSC, Broulee SLSC, Moruya SLSC and Batemans Bay SLSC were acknowledged for their ongoing dedication to keeping Australia’s beaches and communities safe.
The ceremony was attended by Co-Chairs of parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving Sarah Henderson MP, Federal Member for Corangamite and The Hon Matt Thistlewaithe MP, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith, with the awards being presented by a host of key Federal Members including Mr Llew O’Brien MP, Federal Member for Wide Bay, Hon Keith Pit MP, Federal Member for Hinkler, and Ann Sudmalis MP, Federal Member for Gilmore .
SLSA President Mr. Graham Ford AM said that “the National ’s ‘Rescue of the Month’ pays tribute to the remarkable acts of bravery in saving lives by our volunteer surf lifesavers and lifeguards”
“We are so proud to hear these stories and celebrate the actions of all of our surf lifesavers and lifeguards here today. They play a vital role on our beaches and it is great being able to acknowledge that.”
“It was a busy summer for all of our Surf Life Saving Clubs, keeping the public safe, and today is an opportunity to give thanks to just a few that make this happen right across the country,” said Mr. Ford.
Please find below a brief outline of this quarters ‘Rescues of the Month’.
Sunshine Beach SLSC – Lachlan Lansdown, John Reeves, Brad Corby, Allison Johnstone, Steven Boyd and SLSQ Lifesaving Service Rescue Water Craft Operator David James
At 4:15 pm on Christmas Eve last year, Sunshine Beach SLSC surf lifesavers Lachlan Lansdown and John Reeves were on a roving patrol to remote Alexandria Bay in the Noosa National Park.
Upon arrival the pair noticed a group of swimmers in significant distress, struggling to stay afloat. There were three swimmers beyond the break, one of whom appeared unconscious and a fourth swimmer closer in.
The lifesavers used a board and a tube to bring in some of the men and were helped by an off-duty lifeguard. One of the men was floating face down, unconscious in the surf by the time the surf lifesavers reached him. The patient was brought back to the beach and performed CPR on him for three minutes until he showed signs of life.
Bundaberg SLSC – John McGregor and Riley McGregor
On 15 January 2018 at 6:15 pm, John McGregor and his wife Marilyn were at their Bargara home when they spotted many swimmers being dragged out in a rip at the northern end of Kelly’s Beach. John grabbed a racing board that was stored in their house, while Marilyn called her son Riley who lives nearby to come and assist.
John paddled out retrieving the most distressed swimmer, with Riley arriving and swimming out with a rescue tube to the furthest swimmer and returning them to shore. Once John had returned the first swimmer, he paddled back out and retrieved two more swimmers bringing them back into shore safely.
Riley’s partner Jessie Rodgers and his mother Marilyn provided care for the patients as Riley returned to the water to search for what they believed to be another missing person, with the assistance of some members of the public. However, it was subsequently confirmed that all patients had been safely returned to shore.
Australian Life Guard Service (QLD) – James Cervi
On Saturday 18 February off-duty lifeguard James Cervi plunged into cyclonic seas to save Stevi Everson from being smashed on rocks at Noosa, QLD.
Stevi Everson who was on a jet ski with her father Charlie while filming her brother Callum, 19, surfing in the line-up off Tea Tree Bay at Noosa. They were hit by a freak wave and became separated. Charlie made it to shore but Ms. Everson, 24, was trapped in the rough conditions.
Sunshine Coast lifeguard James Cervi, who was aboard a nearby jet ski with a friend, called the Coast Guard from a radio on the ski and then dived in and swam to Ms. Everson.
Mr. Cervi kept the pair afloat for 20 minutes, eventually, using a large wave to push the pair up and onto the rocks. As James pushed from the water, three additional off-duty lifeguards joined Stevi’s father and brother to help pull Stevi to safety. They then helped James out of the water.
Broulee SLSC, Moruya SLSC, and Batemans Bay SLSC – Michael Weyman, Shaun Pike, Andrew Edmunds, Anthony Bellette, Ken Bellette, Mick Bellette, Ben Ralston
On Saturday 24 March, a vessel holding six people capsized while trying to negotiate the Moruya River bar. The Far South Coast Support Operations team and Moruya SLSC were called out by SurfCom to assist.
Upon their arrival, commercial fishing boats had already pulled two people out of the water, a third person was assisted onto a fishing boat while an IRB crew rescued two additional people. A person with leg injuries was transported to shore by a jet ski manned by Andrew Edmunds, while Shaun Pike and Michael Weyman waited with the overturned boat and continued to search for a missing person.
Lifesaving reinforcements of Ken and Mick Bellette and Ben Ralston arrived to assist the search.
The missing person was located by the lifesavers and CPR treatment was administered while the IRB raced to shore where she was handed to the care of paramedics. Unfortunately, on this occasion, not all people made it home safely, and one young girl lost her life.
The lifesavers involved showed great strength and courage in the face of adversity, had they not been present this situation could have become even more devastating.