North Wollongong Lifesavers Achieve National and NSW Recognition

North Wollongong SLSC has been awarded the prestigious National and NSW Rescue of the Month after rescuing four beachgoers in early January 2017.

It’s been a successful period for Illawarra lifesavers with North Wollongong SLSC becoming the third consecutive club to win National and NSW Rescue of the Month after Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC (November) and Windang SLSC (December) being honoured respectively.

In the latest incident, North Wollongong Patrol 4 led by Captain Kevin Ryan, successfully rescued four beachgoers on Monday 2 January after one man slipped off the rocks and his friends got into difficulty while attempting to rescue him.

Patrol 4 were in the process of packing up after an IRB training session when they were alerted to the incident at the northern end of North Wollongong Beach. Without hesitation, Lachlan Sweeny grabbed a rescue tube and swam out while Kieran McKay untied a board from the trailer and entered the ocean. Patrol Captain Kevin Ryan and Lachlan Kimberley who launched the IRB with assistance from bystanders followed shortly.

Luckily for the four distressed swimmers who were aged between 12-25 years, a group of surfers were keeping them afloat but were unable to return them to shore due to the permanent rip near the rocks.

“As we approached in the IRB, Lachlan Sweeny and Kieran told us to take the swimmer who was struggling the most as he was losing consciousness and foaming at the mouth,” Kevin Ryan said.

“Kieran helped us getting the swimmer in the IRB and came back to shore to administer first aid while Lachlan Sweeny used the rescue board to assist the remaining beachgoers.”

Once back on shore the trio assisted by Paul Hanrahan put the swimmer into recovery position and administered oxygen, which was carried to the scene by fellow patrolling members. The male was very disorientated and continued to vomit as Chloe Burke called triple zero.

As this was happening, Lachlan Sweeny safely returned two of the struggling swimmers to the beach before Kevin and Lachlan Kimberley launched the IRB again and picked up the remaining swimmer. Once all four swimmers were safely on shore, a further two oxygen sets were used which noticeably improved the situation.

“Lachlan Sweeny who’s only 16 years old was the first surf lifesaver out to help the swimmers and was the last one to shore. He rescued two of the beachgoers which was an amazing effort,” Kevin Ryan said.

Kevin instructed his patrol to drop the flags and order everyone out of the water as the majority of the lifesavers were assisting the four swimmers and their families. Once the paramedics arrived, the swimmers were assessed and transported to hospital with all of them going on to make a full recovery.

“This award is something that we can and are proud of, it was a really big effort from our Patrol with numerous people involved not just surf lifesavers,” Kevin Ryan said.

“If the surfers hadn’t been there to initially assist the beachgoers, one of them would’ve drowned.”

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

North Wollongong SLSC will be presented with their National Rescue of the Month Medallion and Citation at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 15 June 2017.

Wed 22 Feb 2017