A man and woman were extremely fortunate to escape without serious injury after getting into difficulty while swimming at Kiola on the state’s Far South Coast overnight.
The two swimmers aged in their 20s were part of a group believed to be university students who decided to cool off in the early evening at Shelly Beach on Thursday.
Shortly before 6:30pm, the State Operations Centre received reports of swimmers in distress with grave concerns for at least one male who was yet to be located.
Emergency services including police, paramedics, and the ambulance helicopter rushed to the scene alongside the emergency call-out team from Batemans Bay SLSC; the closest club to the incident.
When they arrived responders found a young woman who had been washed onto the beach. She was assessed by paramedics and treated for shock, while the missing man was located a short time later.
He was winched by helicopter out of the water and was taken to a nearby park where his health too was assessed.
Fortunately despite being tired from his ordeal he was unharmed with the incident highlighting the dangers of swimming at an unpatrolled beach in fading light.
“Had it not been for the prompt response of the first responders we could have been talking about a very different outcome,” said Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce.
“At the time conditions weren’t great for swimming with a rising swell and not the best visibility in the world. These two swimmers were very lucky though we are very pleased that they are both ok.”
A hazardous surf warning remains in place for Friday.
Onshore waves are expected to peak between 2-3 metres at beaches right across the state, and though some beaches will be protected by virtue of their geography, lifesavers are encouraging everyone to be aware of the rapidly changing conditions.
It is anticipated that the swell will ease into Saturday in waters between the Victorian Border and Newcastle, though the warning will likely remain in place for beaches north of Taree and extending through to the Far North Coast.
The warning comes as surf lifesavers recover from their busiest patrol weekend of the season as volunteers carried out almost 500 rescues last week.
General Safety Tips during Hazardous Surf Conditions:
- Avoid rock fishing and water activities on exposed beaches/rock-shelves
- Only swim at patrolled beaches, between the red & yellow flags. See the BeachSafe website for patrolled locations/times
- Check the official Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecast before undertaking rock fishing and water activities
- Boaties should seek advice from Marine Rescue NSW and always wear a lifejacket
- If witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero – Police
Friday 23 March 2018