Towradgi Lifesavers awarded National and NSW Rescue of the Month

A group of Lifesavers from Towardgi SLSC in the Illawarra region have been awarded the National and NSW Rescue of the Month for January after saving the life of a 15-year-old surfer who found himself in difficulty in a strong rip.

On Friday 30 January at approximately 8.30pm, Richard Walsh from Police Rescue called Craig Zulian about a 15 year old who was in trouble about 300m south of Fairy Meadow SLSC and 100m out to sea. Craig then notified Don Allan to open the surf club and start up the All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) along with the Rescue Water Craft (RWC).

Craig, Don and fellow club-mate Sonia Zulian discussed the situation and the many risks involved with the rescue such as the fading light and the large surf. Knowing that the boy was in serious trouble, and the trio were not aware of anyone else coming to help them, they launched the RWC at Towradgi Beach.

It took Craig two attempts to make it out the back of the heavy sets to start searching for the surfer who had snapped his leg rope and lost his board. Craig began searching for the boy who he thought had drifted north in the strong current.

Once around the intended search area, Craig called out and within moments heard the boy screaming and splashing for help. The surfer had been treading water for over 10 minutes by this point, and the noises he made helped Craig ascertain his position.

The boy was in severe distress when he was grabbed by Craig and placed on the RWC. He was unable to hold himself up whilst on the Jet Ski so Craig had to hold him and provide reassurance.

Due to the conditions, Craig opted to drive into Wollongong Harbour where he radioed for emergency services. The boy was transported by NSW Paramedics to Wollongong Hospital and has since made a full recovery from his near-death experience.

Craig’s skill and experience along with the assistance of Richard, Sonia, Don, Nathan and Konrad ultimately saved the life of the 15 year old surfer.

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

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

Mon 2 Mar 2015