A dramatic rescue and near drowning of two men has tested the skills of three young lifesavers on patrol at Batemans Bay SLSC on Christmas day.
It was near the end of the day’s patrol, 4.30pm, when Angus (15) and Lexus Knight (17) were cooling off with a body surf when they noticed two swimmers in distress outside of the flagged area at Malua Bay.
The siblings immediately swam over to assist the two males, one was panicking and the other was face down in the water. Lexus attempted to calm one man while Angus managed to roll the other swimmer face up. A nearby surfer gave them his foam board for floatation and Angus was able to lift his head out of the water and onto the board. Sam Reedy (15) arrived on a rescue board and the boys secured the man onto the larger board.
By the time patrol captain and father Col Knight got there, he could see the situation was not good.
“He was completely non-responsive but I could see he was breathing, sort of,” said Col.
“I grabbed the other fellow and put a rescue tube around him and Angus and Lexus swam him back to shore. With the help of Gary Blake, Sam and I managed to float the unconscious man on the board back to the beach.”
The remaining members on patrol had already swung into action and when the patients arrived on shore, first aid equipment including oxygen and a defibrillator were at the ready.
“We got the non-responsive patient on oxygen straight away and into the recovery position. After a minute of two he was able to say something to us and began vomiting up water freely.”
An Ambulance arrived and the patient was carried off the beach for transport to hospital. He was later airlifted to Canberra for treatment.
The two men appeared to be in their mid-20s, possibly of Indian background.
“They had been at the beach on the grass all day as part of a larger group of people before they decided to strip down to their underwear and cool off,” explained Col Knight.
“It was a beautiful day, the conditions were totally benign but they obviously had very limited if any swimming skills.”
The three teens were Nippers before doing their Surf Rescue Certificate and then the Bronze Medallion. It’s training their patrol captain and club President Col Knight believes set them up to deal with the scary situation and ensure they didn’t fail.
“I’m super proud of them, couldn’t ask for a better outcome. I’m sure without their intervention it could have been a hell of a lot worse. If they hadn’t responded so quickly the patient would have stopped breathing altogether and we would have been looking at a full scale resuscitation.”
He said while it was a terrible situation for the kids to deal with, it will no doubt make them stronger lifesavers in future.
“In my 11 years on patrol, I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
The patrol members involved received a full debrief and have all been offered counselling.
(Image above L-R: Sam Reedy 15, Angus Knight 15, Lexus Knight 17)
Saturday 29 December 2018