Updated: Mar 7, 2018
Seventy year surf life saving veteran and Kurrawa member Bruce Stewart was walking along Kurrawa Beach last month when he spotted trouble...
Bruce spotted a young lady that looked to be in some difficulty about 50m offshore, 200m away from the nearest patrolled area and directly in front of a 'Danger - No Swimming' sign.
Bruce decided he needed to act and swam out, pulling the lady back to safety.
Upon reaching shore, he noticed that the lady's friend (who were both tourists visiting from South Korea), was also in trouble and caught in a rip approximately 100m offshore.
At this point, Bruce asked two beach walkers to raise the alarm with either the Council Life Saving Tower or Kurrawa's patrol (which were located south of Kurrawa). Bruce then entered the water and commenced swimming out to the second lady, who by now was 120m offshore.
Kurrawa Long Serving Member Robert McIntosh (68 years) arrived on the scene shortly after and assessed the situation. Deeming that Bruce would need assistance due to the conditions and distance of this rescue, he followed Bruce out into the water.
Having been notified by the beach walkers, Tower 29 Council Life Guard Wes Kelly arrived on scene shortly after and paddled out to where Bruce and Robert were assisting the lady.
Due to the conditions, it was deemed impossible to return directly to shore. Instead, the group used a board as a flotation device and manoeuvred north up the beach to the nearest sand bank, where they were able to return to shore.
Apart from suffering from exhaustion and swallowing a small amount of water, both ladies did not require further assistance.
It was very lucky that both Bruce and Rob not only had the skills to assist but also the knowledge to raise the alarm so far from a patrolled area. It also highlights the dangers of swimming outside the flags on a patrolled beach in dangerous conditions.
Bruce and Rob no doubt played a vital part in avoiding a tragedy with the two ladies and prove that age really is no barrier when help is required. Because of their quick thinking and skills, Kurrawa Surf Club have proudly nominated them both for Surf Life Saving Australia's Rescue of the Month.