They may have interrupted the Campbell family dinner at Sydney’s Northern Beaches on Tuesday night in dramatic fashion, but fortunately for two young tourists their story does have a happy ending.
A group of Argentinean men thought to be in their 20s were making the most of their time surfing at South Curl Curl Beach, but in an error that could have had disastrous consequences they misread the conditions and got caught in a powerful rip current.
After battling the conditions for some time the group drifted past the Campbell family home shortly before 8pm last night.
Luck was on their side however and their shouts for assistance were heard.
South Curl Curl SLSC teenage twins Angus and David joined their father Mark and their mother on the point as they quickly assessed the situation.
“It was pitch black so we took out a flashlight and tried signalling to the surfers that they shouldn’t get out where they were in danger of smashing into the rocks,” said Mark Campbell.
“Despite the language barrier they got the message and Wayne Settree (a fellow club member) was able to ring the emergency services. The powerful police lights certainly made it a lot easier.”
One of the group was able to make his way out of the water and to safety however his two friends started drifting towards Freshwater Beach.
Emergency services raced to the scene with police, paramedics, and Sydney Northern Beaches Duty Officers all in attendance.
An NSW Ambulance helicopter was also tasked to provide aerial support.
In the mean-time under the direction of his father, 14-year-old David grabbed a foam surf board paddled out to the surfers and using all his skills as a waterman was able to get them to the safety of the shore.
Back on Freshwater Beach the surfers were assessed by paramedics and despite suffering from fatigue they emerged unscathed from their ordeal.
“I have every confidence in my son’s ability in the water as they are very strong paddlers,” said proud father Mark Campbell.
“The skills that they have developed in the water are thanks to Surf Life Saving, and as Angus was still in his school uniform David was the one to go out,” he said.
SLSNSW CEO Steven Pearce praised the quick-thinking junior lifesaver and his family for his actions.
“This was a remarkable effort from young David and the entire Campbell family who had the presence of mind to assess the situation and take action to help.
“I would like to congratulate him for this rescue attempt, which serves as a powerful reminder that as surf lifesavers your skills might be needed at any time,” Mr Pearce said.
Photo by @Kurtmillshanson
Wednesday 31 October 2018