A 17 year-old boy is lucky to be alive after volunteer surf lifesavers mounted a tricky rescue effort last night at Forster.

A group of around six teenagers were jumping off rocks at the southern headland of One Mile Beach at around 6pm when one of them wasn’t able to get back out of the water and the others attempted a rescue using a rope from their car.

The attempt was unsuccessful and with the boy still in the water, emergency services were called.

Nathan De Rooy and Reece Dodds got the callout at 7.15pm and after completing a risk assessment, launched an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) from Cape Hawke SLSC. Operating under Low Light conditions special operations procedures, the crew got to the patient just after 7.30pm, where Reece took two rescue tubes and swam to the patient.

The boy was exhausted and was secured with the rescue tube, but did not have the energy to swim back out to the IRB. With darkness approaching, Nathan was forced to return the IRB to the beach, leaving Reece and the teen in the water.

Back on shore, lifesavers and police tried to get to the pair via the rocks but the swell was building and the Ambulance Helicopter was called to winch them from the water.

Reece Dodds, an experienced aquatic rescue instructor, kept the patient calm and they managed to clamber up onto a small rock bombie to wait for the helicopter to arrive.

By the time the heli winched them to safety shortly before 9pm, the patient had been in the water for almost three hours.

Emergency services and the helicopter crew agreed that if it had not been for the efforts of the volunteer lifesavers, the outcome would have likely been very different.

Thursday 14 March 2024