Manic Weekend For Surf Life Saving’s Northern Beaches
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Posted November 22, 2021
Media Release: Surf Lifesaving Northern Region
Please stick to the flags! That’s the message Northern lifeguards want to impress on the public after performing 52 rescues over the weekend.
A person was airlifted to hospital last evening after being resuscitated by off-duty lifeguards at Karekare Beach on Auckland’s west coast.
Surf Life Saving’s operations centre SurfCom was alerted to two people struggling in the water just before 6 pm. The lifeguards responded immediately in an IRB, recovering both patients and returning them to shore.
One patient was in a moderate condition while the other was critical, unconscious and not breathing. CPR was performed by the lifeguards until they had successfully revived the patient. The lifeguards then performed first-aid until St John Ambulance and Westpac Rescue arrived on scene.
A successful resuscitation caps off a manic weekend for Surf Life Saving’s beaches in Northland, Auckland and Waikato where warm weather and unseasonably warm sea temperatures drew thousands to the coastline.
Northern Region Lifesaving Operations Manager James Lea says the weekend saw higher incident numbers than you’d see in peak summer.
“In total our lifeguards did 52 rescues, assisted six people to safety, performed four major first-aids and searched for eight people – that’s really unusual for a weekend in November,” he says.
“It was a combination of thousands of people being at the beach because of the hot weather, along with decent swells, warm water temperatures and outgoing tides for most of the day. This leads to some really strong rip currents popping up in places like Auckland’s West Coast and in Raglan.”
Lea says that several of the incidents over the weekend occurred as lifeguards were packing up for the evening, forcing them to stay open longer.
“We’re so incredibly grateful to our volunteers for putting in that extra mahi to keep people safe,” he says.
Most of those who got into trouble over the weekend were caught out by flash rips, where the outgoing tide caused holes in the sea-floor to become more prominent causing sudden currents that swept people out of their depth.
“We saw this a number of times over the weekend, most notably at Muriwai and Raglan where groups of 13-14 people were swept out all at once due to these flash rips.”
“Luckily for them, lifeguards were still on duty and able to rescue them all. However, if anyone does get stuck in a rip they need to remember to relax, raise their hand and ride the rip – it’s best to float on back and not swim against the current in order to preserve your energy.”
Surf Lifesaving Northern Region acknowledges the volunteer guards and emergency services who were alerted to a fatality at Baylys Beach in Northlan. A member of public notified them about a deceased patient washed up on the beach. As fire and ambulance had already been contacted with police also involved lifeguards had minimal involvement.
Photo credit: Surf Lifesaving Northern Region - Karekare Beach