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NEW YEAR'S RESCUE AVERTS TRAGIC START TO THE NEW YEAR

Just after 5pm on New Year’s Day, a group of friends and family from Cabramatta were celebrating at an isolated part of Stockton Beach, approximately 2km south of Birubi Headland.

Suddenly, two members of the party were swept out of their depth in a rip current. Three other members entered the water in a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to go to their aid. In short order, all five people were now caught in the rip. Fortunately, thanks to the quick thinking of passers-by and the timely response of our volunteer lifesavers, the situation didn’t escalate further.

Birubi and Stockton volunteer lifesavers were packing away for the day when they heard the call for assistance. Once on the scene, it became apparent that the incident was serious. There were a number of injuries, the most serious being a 14-year-old female who was drifting in and out of consciousness and displaying signs of a possible spinal injury. The lifesavers quickly went to work treating all the patients for water immersion and providing oxygen as well as general first aid. Because the spot was so isolated, the patients were transported to a staging area first until emergency services arrived.

Two seriously injured patients were later transported to hospital. Duty Officer Greg Dunkley said after the incident:

"IN MY 20 PLUS YEARS AS A PATROLLING MEMBER I HAVE NEVER SEEN AN INCIDENT OF THIS SCALE, AND THE RESPONSE FROM THE BIRUBI AND STOCKTON PATROLS WAS SIMPLY OUTSTANDING."

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