A local family is calling for better access to rescue equipment on our beaches after-hours following a near-miss at Austinmer late last month.
The Starling family was enjoying fish and chips near the surf club when trained Lifeguard, 16 year old Lachlan, noticed a swimmer in the rip. Before long, the man was in serious trouble.
“He was being swept out,” says Mum Nicole. “Straight away we went looking for a board but there wasn’t a surfer to be seen, and the Life Guards were long gone for the day. All the while, the man was being dragged further and further out to sea. “It only took about four minutes for him to get into serious trouble before Lachie ran to the water and swam out to save him.
“Meanwhile another man, who I think was the swimmer’s friend, also went to his rescue, but he too got into trouble in the rip,” she says.
“My 14 year old daughter Lily grabbed our pool noodle and swam out to the second man. She managed to drag him to safety, while Lachie brought the other man in.
“Both men were panicking so they were extremely grateful. They kept saying ‘you saved me, you saved me’, but it could all have ended very differently for everyone, and it was terrifying.
Nicole is now calling for a board or flotation rescue device to be accessible at all times on our beaches.
“We really needed access to a board to make that rescue safe,” she says. “I know similar rescues have been carried out recently at Little Austi too. We need a system, perhaps pin number access, at all our beaches so people can find rescue equipment in an emergency.”