Two males in their 20s have been rescued at the notorious drowning hotspot, Dreamtime Beach on the state’s far north coast after a woman activated the Emergency Response Beacon (ERB), alerting the Surf Life Saving NSW State Operations Centre that the men were drowning.
Lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service were tasked to the incident at about 4.30pm on Monday 7 November when the call came through from the distressed young woman.
“We asked for more details from the operator in the State Ops Centre but there weren’t any because one of the girlfriends had activated the beacon and she was upset and panicking,” Lifeguard Supervisor, Lachlan Field said.
“That’s where the beacons are life-saving because you have the location and you have cameras so you’re not reliant on the informant, you can find out for yourself whether the person in trouble has gone round the headland or not, for instance.”
In a remarkable turn of events, a member of the public took the initiative to retrieve the angel ring floatation device, which is attached to the beacon, and raced into the water to attempt to save one of the men. The second man was picked up and returned to shore by lifeguard Lachlan Field aboard a surf rescue jetski from Kingscliff.
“Those two people are really lucky, I doubt we would have gotten there in time without the beacon,” Lachlan continued.
“On the phone, we may not have been able to get a location or assets there in time but with the ERB, we know immediately it’s activated that the job is straight there.
“Dreamtime Beach runs for 2.5kms so without it we’d have had to start all the way down and search the entire beach before we got to the headland.”
Both males were taken by ambulance from the beach and were conscious and breathing at the time of transport.
“We had great support from the Fingal Rovers SLSC as well, their call out team sent a buggy down and they had their inflatable rescue boat on standby should we have needed it,” Lachlan said.
“We got there first because we’re on duty down at Kingscliff already, but we had all areas covered, it was a great response from both lifeguards and lifesavers.”
The ERB at Dreamtime is one of 20 currently positioned at blackspots around the state, the initiative managed by Surf Life Saving NSW and funded through the NSW Government.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, Steph Cooke said ERBs are continuing to roll out across the State.
“This is exactly what the Emergency Response Beacon was designed for, allowing members of the public to raise the alarm so our lifesavers can do what they do best along any part of our beautiful coastline. Each beacon helps our lifesavers respond faster to emergencies in the water,” Ms Cooke said.
Wednesday 9 November 2022