Skip to main content

A successful rescue of two teenagers along a notorious stretch of coastline has earned the Central Coast Support Operations Team state recognition as the NSW Rescue of the Month for September 2018.

It is the second time this year that the Support Operations Team has received the NSW Rescue of the Month Award for successfully responding to an incident at Snapper Point. An earlier rescue in June was awarded the National Rescue of the Month Award in Canberra last month.

The fact that both of these stories had a happy ending is a credit to the skill and professionalism of the local surf lifesavers.

As people familiar with the history of the area would know all too well the stretch of the coast between Lake Munmorah Conservation area and Catherine Hill Bay has claimed the lives of many people.

Unfortunately the caves that capture the imagination of explorers can be a dangerous environment. Trapped in a cave with a rapidly rising tide has caught many people out and requires a prompt response from surf lifesavers.

This latest incident occurred on Saturday 15 September when Central Coast Duty Officers David Sneddon, Glen Clarke, and Josh Cole received a call at around midday alerting them to the fact that two teenagers were stranded in a cave at Snapper Point.

The incident prompted a multi-agency response with Police, and Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter joining volunteer surf lifesavers at the scene.

A rising tide meant that escape was impossible for the swimmers and it was decided that a jetski and Inflatable Rescue Boat were the best assets to attempt a rescue.

The craft were quickly launched at The Lakes SLSC and made their way to the location.

The Central Coast Support jetski driven by Sean Leicester (The Lakes) was able to drop Brianna Coyte (Toowoon Bay SLSC) at the entrance to swim into the cave and assist the female patient to swim out to the jetski safely.

She then returned to the cave to rescue the young male.

Both patients were transferred to the IRB crewed by The Lakes members Anthony Smith and Gavin Brown and taken to Fraser Park Beach.

Fortunately they were unharmed from their ordeal.

Speaking after the rescue Brianna Coyte described the conditions as challenging and that the young teen was pretty shaken up when she reached her.

“The two teenagers were part of a group of seven who had been jumping from the rocks when the conditions changed catching them out.

“She was pretty scared of going back into the water, so I made a joke about being her Uber driver for the day and managed to get her to put on a lifejacket. She was eventually OK to swim out and it all went fine,” said Ms Coyte.

The SLSNSW Rescue of the Month is a prestigious award that recognises excellence in Surf Life Saving. Each month a ‘Rescue of the Month’ is awarded at State level for the most outstanding rescue performance for that period. Monthly winners are eligible for the National Rescue of the Month, and are also in line to be named the NSW Rescue of the Year which is announced at the season-ending Awards of Excellence.

LIFESAVERS INVOLVED: Sean Leicester, Brianna Coyte, Anthony Smith, and Gavin Brown


Friday 2 Novemebr 2018