BRAVING THE SURF - A RESCUE TO REMEMBER

It was a warm afternoon when Rachel Eddy, an experienced Surf Lifesaver, had just signed off her patrol at Kurrawa Beach on the Gold Coast and started her evening shift in the bistro at Kurrawa SLSC.

All was going well, until at around 6:45pm that evening a distressed family burst into the club's reception, desperately yelling for help.

Two of their family members were in the ocean and in deep trouble.

The staff were aware that Rachel was a volunteer lifesaver and immediately alerted her to the situation. You could not have stopped Rachel, as she immediately sprang to action. She rushed down to the beach and scanned the ocean for the two missing members of the distressed family. She spotted them, approximately 80ms offshore.

You can't patrol Kurrawa Beach without knowing about its notorious riptides. Rachel could see this one had dragged the two people out a fair distance. Fortunately, others had noticed the issue and already brought a rescue board down to the water's edge, in the hope someone may be able to assist. You could feel how everyone was working together to save the stranded couple.

On the shore, Rachel used her experience to assess the situation. You could witness the speed at which she was able to make a decision, based on her training. She grabbed the racing board and launched herself, fully-clothed, into the surf. While Rachel was in the water bravely completing her rescue, you can't ignore the quick action of the club Duty Manager, who dialled 000 and alerted Queensland Ambulance and Police Services to the situation.

Once assured emergency crews were on their way to assist, the Duty Manager stayed on shore, watching the rescue and keeping an eye on Rachel and her progress, ready to alert ground crews on the rescue's development.

Upon reaching the distressed swimmers, Rachel noticed one was reasonably calm, where the other was beginning to show signs of panic. As it was, you couldn't carry both at once. Rachel prioritised the person in greater distress, as they were more likely to lose energy faster and were at greater risk of harm. She brought them safely back to shore to waiting paramedics.

She immediately returned to the water and successfully collected the second swimmer.

Without an experienced Surf Lifesaver nearby, you know the outcome for these swimmers could have been far worse. These swimmers, along with their families and loved ones, are lucky that Rachel had confidence in her ability, and performed such a successful rescue.

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