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Surf lifesavers from Surf Rescue 50 (SR50) have been recognised with the prestigious NSW Rescue of the Month award after saving the life of a rock fisherman near Kiama Downs on the State’s South Coast in June.


In the early hours of Saturday 3 June 2017, a State Duty Officer was informed that a fisherman had been washed from rocks at the northern end of Jones Beach.

When South Coast Branch Duty Officer, Glenn Matthews was alerted to the unfolding incident the decision was made to activate SR50.

Fellow Duty Officer, Shane Wicks joined Glenn at the scene to provide operational support while Kiama surf lifesavers and SR50 crewmembers Rhys Dawson, Tom Daly and Gregg Delahunty arrived in preparation for the rescue effort.

Conditions on the night were rough and there was very little light for Rhys, Tom and Gregg as they launched SR50.

“We were approaching the area from the south and Tom Daly spotted a flicker of light in the water and that’s when we spotted him,” Rhys Dawson later said.

“If it wasn’t for the lifejacket and torch that he was holding. Especially the torch because we were searching for some time, things would’ve been a lot different.”

Within minutes they reached the male who was floating over 100m from the rocks. He was conscious but appeared to be suffering from a head injury and hypothermia.

“He was moaning, extremely cold to touch and we laid him straight on the spinal board and started assessing his injuries,” Mr Dawson said.

“The fisherman’s body temperature being so low we didn’t know how much longer he had left. At one stage he lost consciousness but once we administered oxygen therapy he came back which was pleasing.”

As the surf lifesavers pulled the man aboard, he was placed on a spinal board, wrapped in blankets and administered oxygen therapy. Meanwhile, Shane coordinated the rescue at the Kiama boat ramp with Police, and Paramedics waiting to treat the rock fisherman who had a body temperature of 28OC.

Once SR50 arrived at the boat ramp, the fisherman was handed over to Paramedics and was airlifted to hospital in a serious condition. He has since made a full recovery.

“The crew we had on this night were very experienced and we do a night exercise as part of our proficiency so we were ready for the situation,” Mr Dawson said.

“It’s great to receive the recognition especially for the crew, in a way it’s morale boosting.”

The SR50 crew and Branch Duty Officers worked together as a team with great professionalism, and it was the quick response and experience of the surf lifesavers combined with the man’s decision to wear a lifejacket ultimately ensuring the fisherman’s survival.

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 on Saturday 5 August 2017.

For official citations and past recipients please visit the Rescue of the Month Recognition Page.


Friday 21 July 2017