Horror Day on NSW Beaches

Surf Life Saving resources and volunteers have been stretched to the limit dealing with huge crowds and major rescues and emergency incidents, including one confirmed drowning on the Central Coast.

New Year’s Day is often one of the busiest on NSW beaches, however experienced lifesavers are saying they can’t remember a day when so many incidents and emergencies have occurred.

Surf Life Saving NSW Director of Lifesaving John Restuccia says the problems have been spread across the state and messy surf conditions and a powerful shore dump has resulted in more than 15 suspected spinal injury cases.

“Our volunteers have been under the pump since early morning. At one stage our State Operations Centre was dealing with six incidents at once,” said John Restuccia.

More than 40 separate incidents have been responded to by surf lifesavers, four successful resuscitations have been performed and more than 32 Ambulances have been called to beaches throughout the state.

Unfortunately the tragic drowning of a man in his 60s at Nth Entrance is a sad reminder of the importance of swimming between the flags at a patrolled beach. The man was pulled from the surf about 1km north of the patrolled area and lifesavers did all they could to revive him, however they were unsuccessful.

“Our thoughts are with the man’s family and friends and our volunteers have received a thorough de-brief and counselling. It hits our guys hard when they are unable to save someone’s life and I thank them for their efforts,” said John Restuccia.

In other incidents two young men were rescued near rocks at Palm Beach and successfully resuscitated along with a young man at Warilla on the South Coast who was pulled from the surf and resuscitated before being flown to hospital.

Volunteers on patrol have also dealt with missing toddlers, injuries such as shoulder and knee dislocations and falls from embankments.

“It demonstrates what an important role our volunteers play in keeping the public safe at this time of year. From the patrolling members on the beach to our SurfCom radio operators giving up their time to man our State Operations Centre, we should all be extremely thankful they are prepared to do the job they do.

“We’re expecting the next few days to continue to be very busy on our beaches and we need the public to help us by only swimming at patrolled locations between the flags.”

For patrolled beach locations and safety information go to www.beachsafe.org.au

Thu 1 Jan 2015