Rescue of the Month Awarded to Tea Gardens Hawks Nest

Lifesavers from Tea Gardens-Hawks Nest with the assistance of Fire and Rescue NSW have been awarded the Surf Life Saving NSW Rescue of the Month for March 2014.

On Sunday 16 March 2014 at around 12:00pm, Tea Gardens Hawks Nest SLSC received a request for assistance from a female in distress on Yakaba Mountain. Yakaba Mountain is 210 metres high on the Northern Headland of Port Stephens and 3km south of the patrol area.

Patrol Captains, Craig Young and Graeme Webb quickly made the decision to deploy lifesavers from the patrol. Some members were transported via the All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) with oxygen and first aid equipment whilst other patrol members remained on standby at the base of the mountain with an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB). With a serious storm warning for the afternoon, lifesavers knew they had to act fast.

Once on scene, the lifesavers on the ATV negotiated a steep climb to reach the patient. Lifesavers were advised by family that she was a member of the surf club. The lifesavers conducted a primary assessment and realised she had sustained a badly broken leg. They administered oxygen therapy and reassured the patient until paramedics arrived on scene.

Because of the unforgiving terrain, paramedics requested Fire and Rescue to assist with the evacuation. Lifesavers Kelly Pietsch, Craig Shelton and Dean Chester were some of the members of the Fire and Rescue team and were also members of the Surf Club and had great knowledge of the area. In conjunction with the local Police Officer, Fire Rescue team and with the assistance of a chainsaw, a path was cleared. It was decided by paramedics that the patient needed to be carried out of the area so once stabilised she was rolled onto a spinal board and lifted onto a stokes stretcher. With help from Lifesavers, the Fire and Rescue Team attached belays to the stretcher before it was slowly lowered down the steep, unstable slope.

On reaching the ATV the ferocious storm hit with gale force winds and torrential rain. Lifesavers secured the stretcher, and covered the patient with a rescue blanket while an extra two lifesavers jogging behind supporting the overhanging stretcher. With the track clear, the ATV transported the patient to the waiting ambulance at the bottom of the hill. The patient was transferred into the 4WD ambulance.

While the incident was not located at the beach, it highlighted the ability and skills of lifesavers from Tea Garden Hawks Nest SLSC to adapt and assist in a variety of rescue situations.

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.

Thu 17 Apr 2014