Surfboat Crew Rescues Injured Rock Fisherman

They may have missed out on winning Team of the Year at the Sydney Northern Beaches Awards of Excellence Friday night, but less than 12 hours later, the Avalon Beach Antiques masters women surfboat crew had redeemed themselves, rescuing a fisherman who had fallen from rocks at Warriewood Beach.

The crew were rowing off Warriewood at 7.20am when they saw a man fall more than 5 metres into rocks and roll partly into the water. When he wasn't moving, two of the rowers jumped into the water and swam over to the rock platform with a rescue tube.

The remaining two rowers and the sweep headed back to the beach to raise the alarm and launch the IRB.

Police and Ambulance were called and the IRB sped back out around the headland with first aid, spinal board and oxygen gear.

The 5 times Australian Masters surfboat champions stabilized the patient and waited for help as it was thought too risky to try to get the man into the boat with possible spinal injuries.

"He was in a lot of pain, groaning and shivering from shock," said one of the rescuers, Bev Tilbury. "We couldn't walk him out either because we were trapped under a rocky overhang."

The Ambulance helicopter arrived and a paramedic was winched into the rocks, secured the patient in a stretcher then winched him aboard the aircraft.

"It was all a bit scary but I guess this is what we train for as lifesavers. We were talking a lot of rubbish trying to keep him distracted from the pain until help arrived," laughed Kate Munro.

The man was wearing a lifejacket, but was extremely lucky the crew were out training and were able to reach him so quickly.

"Who says surfboats no longer play a part in surf rescue," said the Avalon Beach crew.

It was a multi-club effort with Warriewood clubbies also involved, crewing the IRB and coordinating the rescue effort from the clifftop.

Sat 27 Jun 2015