Fingal Rovers SLSC Awarded National and NSW Rescue of the Month

Fingal Rovers SLSC lifesavers have been awarded National and NSW Rescue of the Month for October after rescuing a female swimmer who entered the water to save the life of a young boy who had been swept from rocks. Subsequently, the boy was safely brought to shore.

On Saturday 10 October at 5pm, Debrah Cheers was at Fingal Rovers SLSC with her daughter and a friend when Police arrived to tell them there were people in the water off the headland and asked if they could launch the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) immediately. Debrah needed a crewman to assist with the rescue, so Tony, who was a police officer and a former surf lifesaver, jumped in and they headed out to the swimmers near Fingal Headland.

"The situation was very surreal at the time as there were multiple people in the water and it was late afternoon so finding everyone quickly and safely was imperative," said Club Captain Debrah Cheers.

During the search, the Police notified them that a child had been brought to shore by Chris Dennis who was due to perform his first patrol the following day. SurfCom was contacted to dispatch a helicopter and ambulance as there was a chance of multiple casualties. As Debrah and Tony proceeded further out to sea, bystanders were yelling and pointing to the northern side of the headland. The IRB changed direction and the crew spotted three people in the water in urgent need of assistance.

Two men were struggling to keep a woman afloat and were attempting to swim her back to shore while battling the dangerous conditions. Debrah and Tony made three attempts to pull the female into the IRB due to the large waves. The two men helped lifted her into the IRB and then made their way back to shore while Debrah and Tony returned to the beach in the IRB and commenced CPR.

"Heading out and in my approach at the scene, the safety of the police officer crewing for me and the three people in the water was at the forefront of my mind. The timing of the pickup and the fact the patient was unresponsive added a lot of pressure to the rescue," said Debrah Cheers.

Two bystanders who were medical professionals continued efforts to revive the woman, while Debrah and Club President, Steve Kudzius went back out in the IRB as it was thought there were more people in distress. They searched the southern side of the headland and could not locate anyone so they made their way back to shore where the Police advised them everyone was accounted for.

“The rescue involved emergency services, other club members, family members and the public which was so important to the success of the rescue as we were able to bring the young child ashore and to give the young lady the best chance we could.

“We cannot thank everyone enough and we commend the bravery of the guys that dived in and helped the child and young lady,” Debrah Cheers added.

The woman was taken to hospital but unfortunately did not regain consciousness. Debrah, the members of the public who assisted and the deceased woman who attempted to rescue the boy in the first place showed amazing courage, putting their own lives at risk to help others.

The SLSNSW Rescue of the Month aims to recognise excellence in lifesaving. Each month a ‘Rescue of the Month’ is awarded at State level for the most outstanding rescue performance for that period. Monthly winners have the chance to win the Australian Rescue of the Month and become finalists for the SLSNSW Rescue of the Year which is presented at the annual Awards of Excellence.

For official citations and past recipients please visit the Rescue of the Month Recognition Page.

Wed 2 Dec 2015