Three days of hot weather, challenging surf and large crowds at our beaches has resulted in the busiest starts to a new year in recent memory, as Surf Life Saving NSW lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers were faced with a record number of incidents, rescues and preventative actions up and down the coastline.
On Monday 3 January, the SLSNSW’s State Operations Centre logged 60 incidents through its system, the most ever received in a single day. Of those logged, an unsuccessful CPR attempt at Park Beach in Coffs Harbour was among 197 rescues, 6,923 preventative actions and 24 emergency incidents.
The incident on the state’s north coast came after patrol was alerted that a 40-year-old woman was missing and sent an IRB out to search for her. Lifesavers found the woman face down in the water, brought her back to shore and commenced CPR for 45 minutes. She was not able to be revived.
Elsewhere in the state, three people were thrown from their vessel near Otford Lookout in the Illawarra. Stanwell Park and Wollongong patrol attended the scene and assisted in bringing them in.
At Lake Innes, a capsized vessel saw a woman and multiple kids left stranded in the water holding onto the hull. Lifeguards, lifesavers and multiple air assets responded and after time all those in the water were rescued and transported to Port Macquarie Hospital.
On the Central Coast, multiple calls for persons in distress in the water at The Entrance were answered by patrol and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter. All persons were removed from the water while ambulance was called for one patient.
It comes after Saturday and Sunday, January 1 and 2, produced dozens of high category incidents and saw a further two fatalities – two rock fishermen at Warriewood and Windang.
In all, for the week from Monday 27 December through to Monday 3 January, inclusive of the public holiday yesterday, 609 rescues were completed. There were also 58 ambulance callouts and 70 emergency incidents.
“What we have seen over the past three days has never been seen before on NSW beaches,” Surf Life Saving NSW President, George Shales said.
“The sheer volume of incidents, rescues and preventative actions has shone a light on lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers up and down the coastline and highlighted just how lucky we are to have dedicated, well-resourced individuals looking out for our safety on the beach.
“It’s important, though, to remember that we also must look out for our own safety and make smart decisions when we head to the coastline. That begins with choosing to visit a patrolled beach and swimming between the red and yellow flags.”