National Rescue of the Month Awarded to NSW Lifesavers

Lifesavers from Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club and Pacific Palms Surf Life Saving Club respectively, have been presented with the National Rescue of the Month award by the Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving in Canberra.

Freshwater Lifesaver Tod Rowbotham was awarded for a dramatic rescue in dangerous three-metre surf in April. Rowbotham was also awarded the title of Surf Life Saving NSW Rescue of the Year at the recent Awards of Excellence held at Four Seasons Sydney.

While watching the big surf conditions, a member of the public ran up to a group of lifesavers stressing that there was a board rider in trouble and needing assistance. Rowbotham instinctively grabbed a rescue board from the surf club and raced into the rip at the south end of the beach to rescue the board rider who was being washed onto the rocks.

As Rowbotham made his way out he located the surfer in serious distress, completely exhausted and struggling to stay afloat. If it was not for his 36 years of surfing experience and his ability to remain calm under pressure, the situation could have ended very differently.

Lifesavers from Pacific Palms; Lennon Fisher, John Gray, Kel McCredie, Brian Wilcox, Julie Wilcox and Ben Atkinson were also presented with the prestigious award after their joint response on Wednesday 7 May 2014 for a fishermen who had been washed into the water at Seal Rocks.

The sea was extremely rough because of the wind and the temperature was very cool which made the search difficult for lifesavers. Lifesavers noticed a fisherman on the rocks frantically calling for attention to another man who was clinging to the rocks, too exhausted to move. The only way to get him onto the RWC was for Lennon Fisher to enter the water himself, push the man onto the sled of the RWC, and then remount himself without tipping the RWC. Whilst Fisher was rescuing the patient, The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was called in to winch the man who was stuck on the rocks to safety then search from the air for the other fisherman.

After battling the rough conditions, Fisher returned the patient who was hypothermic, in shock, cramping and covered with cuts and bruises to Boat Beach, where Gray cared for him until an ambulance arrived on scene. Along with the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter, Fisher went back out in the rough conditions on the RWC to continue the search for another fisherman, last seen floating face down off the rocks. Unfortunately the man was not located with the Police calling off the search at dusk.

For the official citations for both rescues please visit our Rescue of the Month page.

Thu 28 Aug 2014