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The patrol season is still a couple of weeks away, however volunteer surf lifesavers are on call anytime, 365 days a year. 

Dangerous surf conditions were building on the NSW coastline on Sunday afternoon when the Avalon Beach SLSC call-out team received a notification from the State Operations Centre (SOC).

“It was 2.44pm when we got the call,” said Life Member Terry Barber. “It was reported that there was a male in his twenties in the water off the rocks behind our northern headland.”

Luckily, the experienced and highly qualified on-call team were close by and able to respond quickly.

“Todd Barber, Zac Dale, Grant Salmon and myself were opening up the IRB shed within four-minutes of receiving the message,” said Director of Surf Sports Nick Sampson. “We got the IRB ready and down to the water as we were joined by other senior club members Rob Hopton, Kevin Veale and Terry Barber.”

The IRB was launched and the crew headed around the headland, maintaining radio contact with Terry Barber on the beach and the SOC.

IRB driver Nick Sampson said the surf was large and treacherous as he negotiated the break. When he reached the location he noticed there were two people on the rocks. One was able to indicate the location of the patient in the water.

The three men had been spearfishing when they were sucked into the water by an unexpected wave and drawn away from the rocks. Two were able to make their way back onto the rocks while the third hit the rocks and lost his gun and flippers. He ditched his weight belt and swam away from the rocks where he waited for help.

The IRB safely plucked the man from the ocean 50 metres from the rocks and returned to Avalon Beach where paramedics and the Surf Life Saving Sydney Northern Beaches Duty Officer were waiting. He suffered cuts and abrasions and was treated for hypothermia and transported to Northern Beaches Hospital.

“The rough and choppy conditions made locating the patient very difficult. The group is lucky that they weren’t more seriously injured or worse and that we were able to deploy our IRB so quickly,” said Nick.

“We had the IRB at the waters edge and a full team of advanced award members on the beach within eight-minutes from receiving notification of the incident,” said Nick. “I’m very proud that our club can respond so rapidly and efficiently to help save lives, and we did save a life today.”


Monday 9 September 2019