Skip to main content

The rescue of a kitesurfer at Kurnell has won volunteer surf lifesavers the NSW Rescue of the Month award for September 2019.

At 11.20am on Saturday 21 September, an inexperienced kitesurfer was reported missing at Silver Beach, Kurnell. The man had last been seen heading out into Botany Bay at 7.30am but hours later had not returned.

When the man didn't report for work at 11am and his car was found in the beach carpark, the alarm was raised by a concerned friend and Police were notified.

The Surf Life Saving NSW State Operations Centre began coordinating a search and rescue operation with the Sydney Branch Rescue Coordinator, Matt Spooner.

Several assets, including Duty Officers Jackson Towns and James Caterson, Surf Rescue 30 Offshore Rescue Boat (under the command of Jake McDonald) Sutherland Shire Council Lifeguard Rescue Watercraft (Brett Richardson and Carl Van Zino) and the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter were tasked to search for the missing man.

After an extensive search of Botany Bay, the man was located by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter, floating in the water and clinging to his kite board for buoyancy. He was approximately two kilometres from Silver Beach, where he had first entered the water.

While the helicopter remained overhead, the man was rescued by jetski and returned to Silver Beach where he received first aid treatment by Duty Officers Jackson Towns and James Caterson. He was also treated for mild hypothermia.

It was a significant collaborative rescue operation. Thanks to the coordinated response of Surf Life Saving NSW and the Sutherland Shire Lifeguards, there was a good outcome. Without assistance, the man's injuries would have been more severe and may have resulted in a worse outcome.

Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales commended the response of the volunteer surf lifesavers.

“Had it not been for the swift response of our surf lifesavers and the skilled coordination of multiple lifesaving assets, there may have been a very different outcome,” said George Shales.

“Our lifesavers worked harmoniously alongside Sutherland Shire Lifeguards and we’re extremely proud of their efforts. They are very deserving recipients of this award,” he said.

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. Laerdel are proud supporters of Surf Life Saving NSW. Rescue of the Month winners receive Laerdel gift vouchers as recognition of their achievements. Ten prizes are awarded annually.

The volunteer lifesavers​ were awarded SLSNSW Rescue of the Month for September 2019.

Tuesday 29 October 2019