Surf patrol captain describes dramatic rescue
Killcare Surf Life Saving Club has published details in its newsletter of a dramatic rescue performed by one of its volunteer patrols on Easter Monday.
The patrol consisted of captain Greg Judd, vice-captain Garry Lofberg, Kynan Hughes, Jennifer Webb, John Bourne, Leah Judd, Peter Cram and rookie Zac Webb.
"Killcare has fewer rescues than other clubs but, when we do, they're serious," said Mr Judd.
"Easter Monday was a day 16-year-old Jennifer Webb displayed bravery and acted without hesitation.
"Putting her newly acquired SMAR skills to the test, she demonstrated a degree of athleticism and decisiveness that truly saved a life.
"For the preceding six hours, we had been on patrol.
"Conditions of the day had required consistent vigilance of the flagged area.
"Swell height was moderate, however intermittent sets would come in causing flash rips outside the flagged area.
"Conditions were not as hazardous as previous days, although still challenging given the public holiday crowds.
"Swimming Not Advised signs had been posted to ensure parents remained vigilant for their children.
"Seventeen preventative actions were made during the day.
"A group of boisterous friendly lads, aged 18-22, had been playing soccer north of the flagged area.
"Just before 3pm, a 22-year-old old male, who later advised he had no swimming ability, dashed into the water to retrieve their soccer ball.
"He had unwittingly entered a flash rip.
"At the time of the incident a Swimming Not Advised signage was posted directly in front of them in the area north of the flags.
"He had first asked for a hand from his friend at the shore when he got out of his depth but his friend told me he was scared to reach out and pull him back to solid ground because he was scared of being pulled in himself.
"However, another from the group with some swimming ability had gone in to swim after him and soon became our second rescuee.
"Our primary swimmer, Jennifer Webb, used the rip to her advantage and was past the break in a manner that a member of the public later described as lightning speed.
"The victim had been howling with terror between waves and had used the last of his energy when another set arrived sending him under.
"Jennifer retrieved the man from under water by his hair and with the assistance of a nearby surfer, secured the tube around the conscious yet rag-doll like patient.
"More waves arrived.
"The patient endured.
"At this stage, the second victim was perhaps 40 metres from shore.
"Kynan Hughes demonstrated athleticism as he ran full tilt 50 metres over sand to get back to the tent, grab a board and take off after the 19-year-old.
"A passing surf lifesaver from the Northern Beaches asked me if I wanted another board in the water.
"He did not wait for an answer.
"I later thanked him for his help and autonomous actions.
"Our rescuer, the surfer and the victim were now around 80m from shore.
"Thanks to assistance from this off duty lifesaver, Jennifer was able to expedite the rescue by grabbing his board riding the first set in with the patient, returning him rapidly to shore where oxygen therapy was rendered promptly.
"Leah Judd coped well with a distressed patient who was vomiting repeatedly while she administered oxygen.
"It was clear the patient had inhaled a lot of water and there was risk of secondary drowning.
"An ambulance was requested in the first few minutes.
"Medical advice was also requested and Central Coast 19 assisted over the radio.
"Ambulance officers arrived fairly promptly to assess the patient.
"Later the patient would formally refuse the advice of ambulance officers to attend hospital for observation."
Newsletter, 28 Apr 2017
Greg Judd, Killcare SLSC