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The quick and decisive action of a group of surf lifesavers from Helensburgh-Stanwell Park to rescue a stranded paraglider has been recognised at a national level with the group announced as National Rescue of Month Winner for November.

It was during the afternoon shift at around 2.30pm on Sunday 6 November that members of Patrol 3 noticed a paraglider in the water at the southern end of Stanwell Park Beach. Edward White and Nicholas Lowe immediately launched the IRB. As they got closer to the stranded man, they decided it was unsafe to attempt a rescue due to their close proximity to the rocks.

Edward and Nick returned to shore and climbed over the rocks with Lochleigh Thomson to see how they could go about rescuing the paraglider. With the swell surging up to six feet, the paraglider was clinging onto a rock in an effort to protect himself from the large waves.

As Nick was still wearing his lifejacket from the IRB and Lochleigh had a rescue tube, the pair decided to climb further around the rocks to reach the man. Thinking ahead, Nicholas grabbed some scissors from the first aid kit.

When they reached the paraglider, they saw he was tangled in ropes. In between the crashing waves, Nicholas cut through the ropes to slowly release him.

The man was exhausted and disoriented and after he got his breath back, Nicholas handed him his lifejacket and they both safely climbed across the rocks back to the beach.

The paraglider was treated by surf lifesavers and paramedics, however refused to be taken to hospital.

Quick thinking and courage by Nick and Lochleigh was the key to this rescue, with the pair risking their own safety to help someone else. The difficulty of the rescue and the testing conditions make the outcome even more impressive.

Nick Lowe says he had faith in his skills and knew he had a good team to back him up.

"The paraglider was in a very dangerous position, but I felt confident that I could trust in the rest of the patrol and that with their help we could retrieve the patient safely," said Nick Lowe.

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 National Rescue of the Month and become finalists for the SLSNSW Rescue of the Year which is presented at the annual Awards of Excellence.


Monday 23 January 2017