Hervey Bay surf lifesavers (from left) Renee Button, Nathan Finch, patrol captain John Gillard, Chris and David Bamford keep watch on Torquay beach.
Hervey Bay surf lifesavers (from left) Renee Button, Nathan Finch, patrol captain John Gillard, Chris and David Bamford keep watch on Torquay beach. ALISTAIR BRIGHTMAN

Local team spring into action

INEXPERIENCE and exhaustion led to the weekend rescue of two teenage girls and one of their mothers by Hervey Bay surf lifesavers.

Renee Button and Nathan Finch were called quickly into action off Torquay beach when two girls, thought to be 17 years old, started screaming for help about 300 metres off shore.

They had been paddling kayaks around the Bay during the day but did not realise how far they had travelled and it was not long before their inexperience got the better of them.

Ms Button said the teenagers were outside the flags in deep water during high tide.

One kayak nose was high in the air as water poured in the back end, Ms Button explained.

The girls had flipped the kayak, which had filled with water making it difficult to correct. They then became too tired to climb back into the vessel.

Patrol captain John Gillard heard their calls for help and Ms Button and Mr Finch took off in the Inflatable Rescue Boat.

“The girls didn’t want to let go of the sinking kayak,” Ms Button said. One of them soon co-operated however and was pulled into the IRB.

Mr Finch brought that kayak back to shore as lifesaver Chris Bamford swam to help the second girl still struggling in another kayak.

The girl was too upset and frantic to paddle back so she used the rescue board instead.

While all of this was happening the mother of one girl, believed to be a Hervey Bay resident, swam out to help. But once she reached the commotion she too was too tired and had to get a lift back in the IRB.

“Most of the incidents we have here is with sailboards, catamarans; all watercraft,” Mr Gillard said. “The wind gets hold of them; they just get knocked down and can’t get back up.”

“They underestimate the conditions,” added club president Robert Garland.

“It’s not surf or waves but it’s still a risky environment when you’re inexperienced.”

The rescue happened on January 10 about 5pm but yesterday the Hervey Bay lifesavers were on guard, watching kayakers, jet skis, water skiers and boaties, for any similar incidents.

Mr Garland said club members were always willing to help people unsure how to use watercraft and has this advice for tourists and locals: “Make sure you let someone know you’re in the water and stay within your abilities and within 100 metres of the beach until you build your strength up. And stay within a populated area, close to the surf club.”



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