The Minister for Emergency Services (Jane Garrett MP), has written to the club expressing her appreciation to the 17 off-duty lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers who assisted in the 'difficult and dangerous mass rescue' that took place at Woolamai on Sunday 10 January. A copy of the letter is attached below.
As widely reported in the media and within the clubs internal networks seven individuals were swept out after being warned not to enter the water at the mouth of a Rip.
Quickly, two surfers and multiple off duty Lifeguards from Woolamai responded to the situation and cries for help from those in trouble. All seven swimmers were returned to the beach by their rescuers. Two of these swimmers were unconscious, not breathing and unresponsive. CPR was commenced immediately on these two individuals as lifeguards awaited Emergency Services to attend at the scene.
Life-support continued upon these two individuals as Paramedics and other Emergency Services began to assist in the resuscitation of the two patients. The two patients that continued to receive resuscitation were flown to the Alfred Hospital via Air Ambulance. Two more individuals were taken via Ambulance to Wonthaggi Hospital; one of these patients was later transferred to the Royal Melbourne Hospital via Air Ambulance.
An operational debrief was conducted following the rescue, attended by all those involved in the incident from the club and several members of the public.
The actions of the members of Woolamai Beach SLSC were exemplary and displayed the highest standards of their training, discipline and skills. Every action that was taken by those involved assisted in the rescue and the safe transfer of these patients onto further Emergency Services.
Woolamai Beach SLSC would like to pass on its sincere condolences to the individuals that have passed away since the date of the rescue. Woolamai Beach SLSC would also like to thank the families of those who have passed for their support towards those who performed the rescue on the day.
This incident highlights the dangers of Woolamai Beach and the necessary skills that are given to Volunteers and Lifeguards so that they may perform such lifesaving actions.