Struggling Swimmer’s Lucky Night

A teenage swimmer is lucky to be alive after being pulled from the water after-dark at Avoca Beach on the Central Coast on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old was swimming with a group of friends at around 8pm when he got caught in a rip and began to be sucked out to sea.

Fortuitously for the struggling swimmer, the Central Coast Branch of Surf Life Saving had been holding a meeting in the clubhouse which had just concluded.

The Branch CEO and ex-ironman Chris Parker, Director of Member Services Aaron Camp and Education Director Jane Davis were on their way out of the club when they noticed the unfolding drama.

Chris, who was still dressed in his work clothes, raced into the club to get a rescue board while Aaron picked up a child’s foam bodyboard that had been left on the sand.

While the two men struggled to get out to the man in the dark, messy conditions, Jane coordinated communications.

Once they reached the young man, the duo were able to get him onto the rescue board and back to shore where they carried him up to the club and administered oxygen.

He had swallowed a lot of water but responded well to the resuscitation attempts by the off-duty lifesavers and was then transferred to hospital for treatment by paramedics.

Witnessing the rescue effort, Jane Davis said she was very proud of her fellow lifesavers. “It was just awesome to see Chris catch a massive wave with the patient to bring him back into shore,” she said.

State Duty Officer Brett Beswick said the incident was a timely reminder to all about the dangers of swimming at night.

“The man was extremely fortunate that all the circumstances were right for his rescue. He was very lucky that there were trained lifesavers on hand and that they were able to reach him right away otherwise this situation could have ended very differently,” Mr Beswick said.

“We are obviously delighted at this successful rescue effort, but it is so important that people are aware of the best ways to keep themselves safe at the beach especially as we head into the busy summer holiday season.”

Tips for staying safe at the beach:

  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, wear a hat and use lots of sunscreen
  • Read and observe the safety signs
  • Ask a lifeguard/lifesaver for safety advice
  • If you need help, stay calm and attract attention
  • If you witness an in-water emergency, call Triple-Zero Police

Wed 9 Dec 2015