THE screamed words: "Help me, I can't keep going" are still ringing in the ears of Noosa businessman Mark Robinson after he rescued two women from drowning at Fraser Island on Saturday.
He was driving along 75 Mile Beach near Eurong when he came across a group of people helpless to save two female friends caught in a rip.
A former Noosa surfing teacher and a trained surf lifesaver, Mr Robinson immediately swam out to save the women aged 27 and 24.
"The conditions were horrendous and the people who were there were obviously not in a state to help them," he said.
"I just went into autopilot, jumped in and swam towards the first girl."
When he had saved her he realised her friend was still in trouble further out.
"The second girl was getting hit by wave after wave - she pretty much looked as if she had given up," he said.
"When she saw me coming she clung onto me in panic and bear-hugged me with her legs wrapped around my waist. I thought that I would have to defend myself and hurt this girl if she didn't let go or we both could have died."
Waves bashed the pair and Mr Robinson struggled to get air in the maelstrom.
After they were tumbled by several waves she let go, screaming: "Help me, I can't keep going".
"I had to shake her and say: 'You can do it'," he said.
"I told her to kick and swim as hard as she could" and the wave would take her in.
"Then I just turned her on her stomach and pushed her into a wave."
Her friends then grabbed her and pulled her out of the water.
The AGL Action Rescue Helicopter took both exhausted women to Hervey Bay Hospital.