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who had been brought back to shore unconscious after being rescued by local surfers.

Just after 6pm on Saturday 13 February, local surfer, Danny Hamilton, noticed a family of four struggling in the water just south of North Steyne surf life saving club. Immediately he grabbed a surfboard which was lying on the beach and paddled out, fully clothed to rescue the man and boy of the group.

Danny was then assisted by a 12-year old who was surfing nearby. The 12 year old went to the aid of the mother and along with another surfer, brought her back to shore, while the fourth member of the family returned to shore unaided.

Surf lifesaver Yao Xen Tan, who was still at the club after his patrol had finished, ran down the beach to assist.

When Yao arrived at the rescue, the woman was unconscious and frothing at the mouth.

Yao acted quickly, instructing a member of the public to call emergency services while he commenced CPR.

Yao and a member of the public, who was also a registered nurse, worked together to commence two person CPR.

Nigel Kassulke from Manly life saving club was alerted to the incident and rushed to assist.

“I was cycling home from my patrol at Manly life saving club in my uniform when a member of the public stopped me on the bike path and alerted me to the drama,” Nigel said.

Once Nigel arrived the team asked a member of the public to rush to the club house to get the defibrillator and bring it down to the patient.

After five cycles of CPR, very shallow breathing was detected.

Fellow Manly lifesaver, Michele Kaye who had arrived at the scene took control of monitoring and supporting the woman’s head and airway in the recovery position while the patient vomited sea water.

Michele confirmed the patient was breathing but was still unconscious, and coordinated the responders to lift and carry the woman away from the water to dry sand. Michele continued to monitor the patient’s breathing until paramedics arrived and took over.

The woman was transported to hospital while Michele comforted the distressed family.

“The swimmer was very lucky. It was a dreadful rip that she was caught in… I’m just happy the swimmer made a full recovery,” Nigel concluded.

The dedication shown by Nigel, Michele and Yao demonstrates that surf lifesavers are always ready to respond to any emergency situation.

Onlookers and all involved commended Danny and the 12 year old surfer whose actions were crucial in saving the lives of the family.

The three surf lifesavers will be presented with their National Rescue of the Month award at Parliament House in Canberra on June 23.


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