It’s important not to panic in a situation where minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
Lake Cathie Beach lifeguards Hunter Leishman and Dane McCabe kept cool heads when they attended a harrowing incident at Middle Rock on Tuesday, October 9.
A 23-year-old woman was pulled from the water by a male friend, after she got caught in a rip. She was barely conscious when lifeguards arrived.
Australian Lifeguard Service Port Macquarie-Hastings supervisor James Turnham said the woman went in and out of consciousness during treatment.
“The outcome could have been very different, if she had been in the water for a few more minutes,” he said.
“If she hadn’t been swimming with friends, she would not be here today.”
Nineteen-year-old Hunter Leishman has been a lifeguard for four years.
Tuesday’s incident was his second involving an unconscious patient.
“I was preparing for the worst when I got the call to the incident,” he said.
Hunter arrived with the first aid equipment from Lake Cathie Beach, to work with Dane and others to treat the patient.
The woman and her dad visited the lifeguards on Wednesday, October 10 to say thank you.
James said paramedics called and they were impressed with how lifeguards handled the situation.
There have been a number of fatalities in the area over the past few years.
In December, 2017 an 11-year-old boy who was swept out to sea at Lighthouse Beach.
A few weeks later, Wauchope High student Bronson Rhodes was swept out to sea at Flynns Beach.
James said there are hundreds of beaches across the state, but there are only a number which can logistically can be patrolled.
“It’s a risk people take when they swim at unpatrolled beaches, as it does take longer for help to arrive if needed,” he said.
“Anyone who does see someone in trouble at the beach should call triple zero.”
Scenario-based training helps to prepare lifeguards for the toughest incidents.
NSW Ambulance paramedics and police also attended the incident on Tuesday, October 9.