Warnings after multiple rescues made

They had only come to enjoy the beach, but the skills of three trained rescuers were suddenly called upon in two separate incidents in which Dunedin swimmers found themselves in trouble.

Friday’s rescue at St Kilda Beach and Sunday’s rescue at Ocean View Beach were both instances of being “at the right place at the right time”, the men involved said.

On Sunday, former life guard Matt Fleet was at Ocean View Beach with his family when he noticed two girls and a woman appeared to be in trouble in a rip.

He was able to bring in one girl, who had been attempting to swim against the rip, as well as helping the woman to shore.

At that point, he was becoming tired, and was pleased another man was able to reach the second girl.

St Kilda Surf Life Saving Club member Mike Heggie was also with his family when he was approached by a distressed woman, who said her daughter was stuck in a rip.

The training he received as a former life guard had kicked in, he said.

“I swam out through the rip to the wee girl on the body board and just dragged her across the waves and back into shore.”

A message was posted to Facebook on behalf of a parent of one of the girls, thanking the trio.

“It would have been a very different outcome without the selfless acts of these two heroes.”

On Friday, Guy Ramshaw was at St Kilda Beach with his daughter when he noticed a 16-year-old who appeared to be struggling raising her hand in the air.

“The young lady was in quite a bit of distress,” he said.

He knew the life savers were coming, but he was closer and she needed immediate help as a large set of waves were about to come in.

He helped keep the girl afloat until the life guards were able to reach them in an Inflatable Rescue Boat.

A member of Dunedin Land Search and Rescue, he was trained for the situation because not all their work was land-based, and he knew his capabilities.

The mother of the rescued girl, who did not want to be named, said her daughter believed Mr Ramshaw had saved her life.

She made a donation to Dunedin Land Search and Rescue, and encouraged others to follow suit.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand Otago-Southland club development officer Brent Matehaere said beaches had been busier than usual lately due to the sunny weather.

The majority of people were swimming safely, but he encouraged people to take the precautions of communicating with lifeguards, swimming between the flags, and watching out for children.

“If you get in trouble, relax, raise your hand and ride the rip,” he said.

If people went to a place such as Ocean View that was not patrolled by life guards, they should always take a rescue device with them, such as a board, he said.

“Too many times we’ve had—and I know it’s rather topical right now—parents go in to rescue their children, then they are the ones that end up in trouble.”

The body of Wanaka man Linkin Kisling (48) was recovered from Lake Wakatipu at the weekend, about 24 hours after he swam out to save his son.

Related Articles

Back to top button