In 2009-10 surf lifesavers and lifeguards conducted over 12,000 rescues on Australian beaches. Over the coming weeks, Surf Life Saving will be promoting some of the heroic rescues completed throughout 09-10. We have created a 'Rescue Stories' feature section where you can view the full collection of stories, and submit your own.
Courtesy of Surf Life Saving NSW
Surf lifesavers from Redhead SLSC and Swansea Belmont SLSC joined forces to save the life of a body boarder in trouble in huge seas.
At 6.30pm on February 24, 2010 the alarm was raised that a young body boarder was in desperate trouble in huge seas off Redhead Beach. The sea was running at two metres plus with a fast flowing rip rushing out at the northern end of the beach.
The body boarder was being supported by a friend who was also on a body board but they were making no headway against the rip and were being pushed towards the inner bombora where the breaking waves were well over two metres.
Jay Sullivan, an Under 17 competitor, and Jake Roach, a member of Swansea Belmont SLSC, grabbed rescue boards and made their way through the treacherous shore break and turbulent sea towards the two body boarders. An ambulance arrived at the beach and the rescue helicopter was called.
The rescuers reached the exhausted body boarder who was placed on Jay’s rescue board and they began to make their way to shore with Jake close behind. A huge set of waves hit the group and Jake almost lost his board. The pair realised that the force of the rip was too great and that they were being dragged towards the rugged cliff face so they signalled to shore for assistance.
Some of the club’s executive members, who had arrived for a monthly meeting, swung into action, opening the shed, grabbing rescue equipment and launching an IRB within a minute. Club member Emily Holt helped to launch the boat and driver Troy Blatchford and crewman Col Ekert leapt aboard.
The crew made their way through the large swell to the group, who by this stage were exhausted. The IRB crew displayed exceptional skills and courage to position the craft close to the patient and clear of the cliff face and bombora. The patient was returned to shore, while the others made their own way to shore and after being treated by ambulance officers, was eventually given the all clear.
The patient said that if it hadn’t been for the assistance of the rescuers and his friend, he’s sure he would have drowned.
The brave actions of Jay, Jake, Troy and Col on this day saved a life.