Rescue of the Month Awarded to Bondi Lifesavers

Lifesavers from North Bondi SLSC and Bondi Surf Bathers LSC as well as lifeguards from Waverley Council have been awarded the Surf Life Saving NSW Rescue of the Month for January 2014 after an enormous joint rescue effort.

A warm and sunny day on Saturday 4 January 2014 meant Bondi Beach had its usual record crowds. Lifesavers and lifeguards from North Bondi, Bondi Surf Bathers and Waverley Council had already conducted countless rescues and preventions throughout the early afternoon.

At about 4.30pm, an outgoing tide and increasing swell (3-4ft) was creating a dangerous rip sweeping South to North towards Ben Buckler at North Bondi.

North Bondi SLSC had already deployed an inflatable rescue boat (IRB) and lifesavers with rescue tubes and rescue boards to watch over swimmers. Suddenly a larger set of waves (5 ft) broke over the shallow sandbank washing 50 people off their feet and towards the fast moving rip.

At the same time, North Bondi lifesavers were also treating patients at the rock platform so with resources stretched; the Patrol Captain activated the Emergency Evacuation Alarm signaling a mass rescue was in progress. Immediately members of the public exited the water, while additional lifesaving support (including off duty North Bondi members, Bondi IRB and the Waverley Council Lifeguards) arrived to assist those who couldn’t exit the water on their own.

Within 10 minutes, at least 50 people had been rescued or assisted by at least 30 on and off duty lifesavers/lifeguards, with some patients requiring medical treatment and ambulance transport.

Despite the scale, unpredictability and sudden nature of events, no lives were lost due to a coordinated and quick response. This mass rescue demonstrated a highly effective joint effort by all three lifesaving services at one of Australia’s busiest and most iconic beaches.

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

Rescue of the Month recipients at state level receive a $400 Surf Store credit, a pair of waterproof binoculars, a plaque and a framed citation.

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

Fri 21 Feb 2014