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A courageous rescued undertaken by Camden Haven Surf Lifesavers earlier this season has been honoured with the Rescue of the Year Award at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence in Sydney last weekend.

The drama began on Easter Saturday at South Beach, Dunbogan when a holidaying family from Sydney got into difficulty after patrol hours.

Samantha Morley and her husband Dominic Johnson were sitting on the beach watching their two daughters enjoy some time in the surf when a large set of waves crashed through and the two girls lost their footing.

As she later recounted to local media outlets, it was pure instinct that made both adults enter the water and attempt to save the two children. Unfortunately Samantha became caught in a rip current and was dragged out to sea while the others eventually managed to scramble to shore.

It was just the start of what would prove to be an hour and a half-long ordeal which quickly became a battle for survival.

Shortly before 4pm, NSW Police requested assistance from the Surf Life Saving NSW Operations Centre who contacted the emergency callout team from Camden Haven SLSC to respond.

Two of those who answered the urgent message were local club members Phil Traves and Tony Worton. Both men raced down to the beach to prepare the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) for launch.

In the spirit of Surf Life Saving and this small Mid North Coast club, they were joined by teenage members Jacob Worton (Tony’s son) and Jay Toogood with Adam Toogood and club president Michelle Garvan also coming to the rescue.

Phil and Tony launched the IRB while the others grabbed rescue gear and medical supplies and raced to the other end of the beach by car.

“It’s amazing to get this award for everyone at the club, but to us the most important thing is Samantha is still with us today,” said Tony Worton.

“It’s good to see that all the years we spent learning to be a driver and the time spent at the club coming through Nippers and everything became relevant on the day,” Phil Traves added.

Club President Michelle Garvan who coincidentally happened to put Tony through his Bronze Medallion Course just over 5 years ago said she is proud of how the community views the club.

“We’ve come on in leaps and bound in the last couple of years and become involved with the community they’re seeing us in a different light. The support is wonderful and helps us do what we do,” she said.


Wednesday 9 August 2017