Big Rescue at Ocean Beach Sandbar

It was fortunate indeed for a group of holidaymakers that a support ski from the Central Coast Branch happened to be in the vicinity after they got stranded on a sandbar at Ocean Beach on Tuesday.

Jet ski operator Peter Dell noticed that the tide near Ettalong Point the location of popular sandbar was turning quickly at around 4pm and that a large group of people could potentially get into difficulty as the conditions changed.

He quickly called it in to the State Operations Centre network, with patrolling lifesavers at both Ocean Beach and Umina SLSC responding to the situation by launching their respective Inflatable Rescue Boats within minutes of being tasked to attend.

“It was an extremely busy afternoon for us as we were treating a number of people of people who had suffered blue bottle stings,” said Central Coast Duty Officer and Ocean Beach Lifesaver Katie Dixon.

“That sandbar is really enticing spot and it appears that the holidaymakers got caught out by not knowing the environment well, but fortunately this happened in an area where there was a lot of activity.

“It seemed like they got taken by surprise by how quickly the tide turned, conditions were quite good with only a little chop so it was a relatively straight forward rescue,” she said.

In perhaps a sign of the future there was also aerial support for the lifesavers involved in the rescue with Little Ripper 22 the Central Coast based unmanned aerial vehicle also keeping an eye on proceedings.

“The Little Ripper drone was being flown by James Irwin out of Umina and it was really useful to have it. What it provided our lifesavers was a birds eye view of the situation as it unfolded in real time. While fortunately we didn’t require it yesterday if someone had fallen into the water it would have helped provide an ideal starting point to commence a search,” said Katie Dixon.

Between the two club’s boats and the support ski a total of 7 people were ferried to shore where the remaining lifesavers assessed them for injuries.

All the people involved were given a clean bill of health and did not require further treatment.

Wed 28 Dec 2016