Four Koreans Saved from Drowning at Coffs

Two young surf lifesavers are heroes after saving four Korean men from drowning in a rip current at Woolgoolga yesterday.

The Surf Life Saving NSW Emergency Response System was activated by Police just after 3pm with reports that four people were in serious trouble off the beach at Woolgoolga.

Off-duty lifesaving services immediately responded, including local Duty Officer Les Pepper who was working nearby.

When he arrived a few minutes later, two of the club’s surf lifesavers were bringing the last of the men to shore.

Sixteen year old off-duty Surf Lifesaver Anika Morgan had been on the deck of the surf club watching some whales when she heard cries for help from the water. She grabbed a rescue board, paddled out and was able to keep all four men afloat until her friend Luke Featherstone was able to paddle out on another board.

The two teenagers were able to return all four to safety. It’s believed the men could not swim and entered the water in a strong rip current.

“When we got out to the last guy, he was not in a good way,” said Anika. “I don’t think he would have lasted much longer, he kept going under and they were all very weak.

“It was pretty scary, but I just tried to keep them calm until help arrived.”

Ambulance crews attended and the men received medical assistance after swallowing large amounts of water.

“These young lifesavers did a fantastic job,” said Les Pepper, “the beach is unpatrolled during weekdays this time of year and these type of tragedies can happen so quickly.”

State Lifesaving Manager Dean Storey commended the efforts of the young lifesavers: “they quickly identified the gravity of the situation and responded – all their training and hard work came into play and prevented the loss of four lives,” said Storey.

Thu 18 Oct 2012