Over two dozen tourists have been saved from rough surf by quick-thinking Ironmen and women, who happened to have just finished a presentation in the area and sprang into action to carry out a miraculous mass rescue.
Some 25 swimmers, understood to be travellers, got caught in a flash rip 100 metres offshore on Sunday at Maroubra Beach — 10 kilometres south-east of Sydney's CBD — at about 4pm. The group struggled to swim their way in, being dragged further and further out to sea when the athletes spotted the dangerous situation quickly spiralling.
'Lucky' mass rescue unfolds
It's understood the competition for Round 4 of the Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Series had finished and medal presentations were completed when the group noticed trouble in the water, about 300 metres from the competition area, 7News reported.
The group, made up of 20 competitors and coaches — all qualified surf lifesavers — ran for their boards and quickly commenced a rescue mission while they waited for inflatable rescue boats to be deployed.
All swimmers saved, no major injuries
Maroubra patrol eventually were able to return all of the struggling swimmers to shore, none of whom suffered any major injuries — thanks to the efforts of the quick-acting group.
One of the athletes responsible for the rescue, Lana Rogers, said it was "lucky" the group had stuck around after presentations.
“Lucky all of us were here still," she said, 7News reported. "About 20 athletes just raced to save the day and there was about 20 or 30 people out there (in trouble). I was also there and lucky we got to the beach safely with all the people,” she said after it happened.
“Classic Maroubra beach — the water is moving quickly and I think people go in swimming thinking they’ll stay in one place and they’re not. The water was moving very quickly and the rip just took them out to sea.”
Event serves as a reminder
Surf Life Saving Australia’s Wayne Druery said the incident serves as a reminder about how quickly conditions can change. “Today shows us that, in the blink of an eye, conditions can change and, if surf lifesavers can’t see you, they can’t save you,” Druery said.
“Not only did these swimmers benefit from the great skills of patrolled lifesavers and lifeguards on the beach, but also our elite ironmen and ironwomen. Our athletes didn’t hesitate to put their lifesaving training into action and, as a result, all swimmers in trouble were returned safely to their families.”
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