Each month areas recognise the
best local rescue of the month and enters that outstanding rescue
in the NZ Rescue of the Month award. There are six awards each
season and the winners of the six Rescue of the Month awards will
become finalists for the BP Surf Rescue of the Year presented in
Awarded to: Joanne Hobson, Carolyn
Edwards, Shane Edwards, Sam Dwen, Mark Edwards, Bryce Nicholl,
Joshua Higgie, Lewis Powell, Nikayla Poole, Robbie Shrimpton,
Taylor Shrimpton, Torrie Shrimpton, Grace Poole
Club: Trust Waikato Sunset Beach Lifeguard
Date: 10 March 2012
Location: Sunset Beach, Port Waikato
The day's patrol had finished up and the Trust Waikato Sunset
Beach club members were cleaning up the clubhouse. At 4.40pm, they
were alerted by a member of the public to a group of six to seven
people who had walked off the beach and straight into a massive
fixed rip in front of the tower. The first two patients, who were
the most distressed, were assisted by two lifeguards with a rescue
board. The next patient, a 10-year-old girl, was rescued by a
lifeguard swimmer. By this time the group were no longer
together as they had been swept out and isolated by the
The most distressed patient was an eight year-old boy who had
begun the "climb the ladder" process, suggesting he was near to
going under. Two lifeguards with rescue tubes swam to his support.
While the lifeguards kept the patients safe in the water, an
Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) was launched and picked up the
10-year-old girl who was being supported by one of our swimmers.
The next pick up by the IRB was another nine-year-old boy who was
being supported by two lifeguards. An adult who refused to take our
direction was eventually assisted by lifeguards with tubes
from the rip.
Once the patients were successfully rescued and out of the
water, along with the lifeguards assisting, the lifeguards took the
patients to the club rooms for hot showers, warm clothing, and
further assessment. Other lifeguards went out to the car park to
find the parents who had been absent from the entire incident. The
eight-year-old boy, Ronganui Waterhouse from Tuakau, was assessed
by the lifeguards and was responsive; however, he was starting to
lose awareness of his surroundings. The lifeguards wrapped him in a
hypothermia blanket and decided that he required oxygen. They were
concerned about the condition of the boy so called Surfcom to send
an ambulance from Pukekohe. By now the patient was slipping in
and out of consciousness and his breathing became raspy and
eyes were vacant. He failed to answer questions about his name and
address. The lifeguards continued to administer oxygen and monitor
his vital signs for a period of 45 minutes until the ambulance
arrived. He was taken to Middlemore Hospital and kept overnight. He
was sent home the next day.
Throughout the two hour period of the incident lifeguards used
all of he rescue equipment within the club, including
equipment for the post rescue care. They firmly believe that two
of the rescued would have drowned had they not responded to this
after hours callout. A newly qualified guard and her son, who is a
club rookie, helped to set up the first aid and radio system for
the rescue. They also transported oxygen kits and hypothermia
blankets to the beach for the patients. To further test the team,
at approximately 6.00pm, during the rescue wind down, they were
called out by a mother who had been missing her child for two
hours. He was a special needs child and suffered from epilepsy. His
medication was overdue and the mother was distressed. Lifeguards
were sent to search the area in and around the beach and the hills
behind the park. He was located in the hills behind the beach and
returned to his mother where his medication was administered.
That search completed a very busy day for the club members.
Awarded to: Logan Adams, Kris O'Neill,
Duncan Buchanan, Tommy Cantrell, Sam Bassett, Aaron Young, Anaru
Clarke, Tom Jacka, Sam Jenkins
Club: Regional Lifeguard Service, Piha
Date: 10 February 2012
Location: Piha beach
At just after 6pm on 10 February lifeguards Kris O'Neill and Tom
Cantrell spotted four young men entering the water just south of
Lion Rock. With the surf being large and rough, they were
concerned. Kris jumped on the ATV and headed towards the men to
advise them of the dangerous conditions. While en route, the four
individuals stepped off into a hole. The hole was feeding a very
fast moving rip and the men found themselves stuck in the current.
Realising their predicament, they raised their hands for
assistance. Kris quickly responded with a tube and fins.
From the Operations Room Patrol Captain Logan Adams radioed Tom
advising him to respond. Tom headed with a paddleboard to assist.
At the same time Logan notified Duncan Buchanan and Sam Basset and
they launched an IRB. Kris reached three of the men, one being
completely underwater, and pulled him up to the surface. He
Securing the patient with a tube, Kris suported the two other
patients as best he could. Meanwhile Tom paddled out
and helped stabilise the men while the IRB raced to pick up
the patients. A local surfer also offered his board as a floatation
device. On their way out, Duncan and Sam located the fourth
distressed swimmer and pulled the conscious but exhausted man into
the IRB. Upon reaching Kris, Tom, and the patients, Duncan and
Sam tried to pull the semiconscious patient who was holding
on to Tom's paddleboard into the IRB. With a set fast approaching
and the patient unwilling to let go of the board, the IRB had to
move out past the break to ensure the safety of all involved. Kris
managed to swim his patient out past the break while Duncan and Sam
were able to pull a conscious patient into the boat safely.
Meanwhile Tom and his semiconscious patient along with the surfer
and his conscious patient were forced to brace for the oncoming
waves. Tom and the surfer were able to secure their patients and
use the leverage of their boards to push them closer to shore, and
once the set passed, to stand and begin walking them out of the
water. At this point Tom's semi-conscious patient became very week
and needed assistance walking. The semi-conscious patient then
informed Tom that he had gone unconscious a few times and had
swallowed a fair amount of water. Tom immediately signalled for
Having spoken to Tom, Kris ran to the ATV to retrieve the oxygen
and resuscitation pack. Tom, Kris, Duncan, and Sam administered
oxygen, treated the patient for shock, minor hypothermia, and
monitored vitals while Logan notified Surfcom of the situation.
Surfcom dispatched an ambulance. The patient became nauseous and
started throwing up, thus classifying him as a status two patient.
As a result, Tom, Kris, and Duncan lifted the patient into the IRB
and trailer for rapid transport off the beach. Once at the club,
Tom, along with surf lifeguards Aaron Young and Tom Jacka carried
the patient into the first aid room. Surfcom and the RLS supervisor
then requested Westpac to respond as they were concerned that the
patient could deteriorate. Once the patient was placed in the first
aid bed, Tom Cantrell checked lung sounds and vitals. Tom was
unable to hear any water in the lungs. The patient was still
cold, nauseous, pale, and had a rapid pulse with shallow but fast
respirations. At this point St John First Response arrived on scene
and joined in on administering care. Due to the great work already
done by the lifeguards and speedy response by the Piha first
response it was decided Westpac was not needed.
Within 15 minutes of being placed in the first aid room the
patient started showing signs of improvement. His pulse rate
returned to a normal rating and his skin colour and skin
temperature returned to a normal state. The patient was in
good spirit and smiling once the ambulance arrived on scene.
They administered further advance care and transported the
patient to the hospital for a more in depth check of the condition
of his lungs and for any water that may still be present.
Due to the rapid response, extensive knowledge of the
beach conditions, and thorough medical training the lifeguards
involved had. An otherwise certain fatality was
Awarded to: Nathan Smith, Matt Strange,
Hayden Halse, Mason Pickering, Hamish Smith
Date: 6 January 2012
Location: Papamoa beach
On January 6, 2012, two children were swimming 3.6
kilometres from the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club and
had become stuck in a flash rip. They were dragged 250
The children's caregiver called out to the public for help,
as the children began to struggle seriously. Two members
of the public swam out to assist, instructing one of
the swimmers to tread water, while the other swimmer supported the
second child on his chest to keep him afloat, but all four
people in the water became distressed. Consequently two
further members of the public swam out with a bodyboard to
assist but also got into difficulty. Police contacted
Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club and lifeguard Shaun Smith
deployed fellow lifeguards Hamish Smith and Mason Pickering
to take an IRB to Kirk Patrick Place Beach Accessway (3.6
kilometres east of PSLSC).
Meanwhile Nathan Smith, Matthew Strange and Hayden Halse were
instructed to travel via Mule to the incident scene. The Mule
arrived first and Hayden was able to perform a tube rescue, towing
two of the members 70 metres back to the shore. Matthew swam out
with a tube and fins towards the four swimmers who were
now 250 metres offshore and in need of assistance while the
IRB headed in the same direction. The IRB then
retrieved the three swimmers who were struggling the
most and returned them to shore while lifeguards Nathan and
Hayden began first aid on the two most critical patients.
Meanwhile, the IRB returned back to sea to pick up the last two
patients that Matthew was assisting. Upon returning to shore
Nathan, Hamish and Matthew continued to give first aid to the
patients, administrating oxygen to patients who had taken on water
and gone into shock. Meantime Shaun had contacted the ambulance and
instructed lifeguard Campbell Halse to take the trauma pack to the
Hamish flagged down the ambulance and directed them to the
scene. Paramedics took over care of the two most serious patients
while lifeguards tended to the two other patients, administrating
oxygen and treating for shock. Lifeguards then assisted paramedics
to stretcher one patient to the ambulance while the other patient
was also taken to hospital for treatment. They then assisted the
other patients who by now were in a stable condition. All
patients were successfully rescued thanks to the teamwork and quick
thinking the lifeguards involved.
Awarded to: Peter McInnes, Murray Dix
Club: Mangawhai Heads
Date: 14 December 2011
Location: Mangawhai Heads beach
On Wednesday 14 December 2011 in stormy surf with very strong
north- easterly winds, Mangawhai Heads surf lifeguards Peter
McInnes and Murray Dix were notified by local Police that three
members of a group of 20 kayakers were in distress 100 metres
offshore at Mangawhai Heads beach. The kayakers had capsized and
were in the water huddled together in a dangerous 'hole' in the sea
in front of the surf club.
After assessing conditions a quick decision was made to use rescue
boards rather than an IRB, and both Murray and Peter paddled out to
where the distressed patients were. When the lifeguards reached
them they pulled them onto their rescue boards, and Peter paddled
one young male to shore while Murray remained with the other two.
One patient, a young female, was completely exhausted and was fully
submerged underwater when lifeguards arrived.
Peter had successfully paddled the first patient into shore then
returned to assist Murray with the remaining two patients. Noticing
the young girl was weak and struggling to hold onto the rescue
board, Murray and Peter chose to link together and use two boards
to return her and the other patient back to shore. Upon reaching
the shore the young girl collapsed and needed to be carried to the
clubhouse where oxygen was administered. The patient was kept warm
and dry until Mangawhai First Response arrived on the scene. She
was then transferred to Wellsford Medical Centre for
If not for the quick and professional response of these two
Mangawhai Heads Lifeguards the outcome could easily have been
November (winter) 2011
Awarded to: Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving
patrol: Lee Lawrence (Patrol Captain), Shannon Benterman, Nathan
Millar, Alex van Tilberg, Aaron Coe, Jim Coe, Eoin Elliott, Harry
Delautour, Danielle Southcombe, Ben Coers, Dean Lawrence, Jessica
Jackson, Cole Brackebush, Jemma Brackebush, Cameron Burrows, James
Burton, Julie Roberts, Craig Wisneski, Mike Lawrence, Natasha
Dickson, Kayla Tribe, Guy Hornblow (SurfCom).
Date: 24 October 2011, 1600
Location: Kariaotahi, just north of the
Waikato River mouth.
It was 1600, and lifeguards were packing up for the day when a
member of the public rushed to the Kariaotahi clubhouse to say that
they had seen two people in the water, calling for help. They were
just north of the Waikato River mouth.
Patrol Captain Lee Lawrence immediately took command and
instructed lifeguards Dean Lawrence, Nathan Millar, Cameron
Burrows, Ben Coers, Craig Wisneski, Aaron Coe and Jim Coe to
respond by towing an IRB to their last known position. Shannon
Benterman contacted SurfCom (the operator was Kariaotahi lifeguard
Guy Hornblow, who had a thorough knowledge of the location) and
advised him of the situation. Guy, understanding the severity of
the incident and knowing the terrain immediately contacted the
Police and asked that they task the Westpac Rescue helicopter and
Police helicopter. He advised Coastguard of the unfolding incident,
and arranged for an ambulance to be dispatched, then phoned Sunset
Beach Lifeguard Service to ask them to respond with an IRB to
SurfCom advised Kariaotahi Head of Lifesaving Mike Lawrence of the
situation so he could provide support to the lifeguards. By now,
they had arrived on scene where Dean gathered additional
information revealing that the situation was worse than thought -
there were three people missing. Cameron and Nathan began the
search in an IRB. Lifeguards conducting a site examination found
two children in a car belonging to the three missing men. Jemma
Brackebush and Jessica Jackson were dispatched to tow a second IRB
with driver Harry Delautour (who only qualified as an IRB driver
the week earlier) and Eoin Elliott as crewman to collect the two
children. However members of the public had already started to
transport the children back to the club so Jessica returned to the
scene to help Dean, who instructed that the second IRB be launched.
At this time two IRBs from Sunset Beach arrived and all four crews
were briefed by Dean. They began a search in the surf break and
Harry and Eoin spotted a person face down in the water. They
signalled to the closest Sunset Beach IRB to do a pick up.
The crew retrieved the man who was unconscious. Craig and an off
duty paramedic took control of the resuscitation attempt so Dean
could focus on continuing the search. Throughout this time SurfCom
and the Patrol Captain at the club were kept up to date. The
helicopters were now on scene to assist with an aerial search.
Lifeguards had managed to deliver a shock to the patient using the
club's AED, and Westpac dropped its paramedic with further
resuscitation equipment. The paramedic sadly pronounced the man
deceased a short time later. The IRBs, helicopters and the Waiuku
Coastguard continued the search. During this time the lifeguards
found a number of items belonging to the missing men including a
fishing net which was brought to shore and given to Police. The
search continued until the helicopters became low on fuel. Police
then advised the IRBs via SurfCom to make their way back to their
clubs, searching on the way.
The Police helicopter refuelled and returned to the search area,
with the club's IRBs on standby. Julie Roberts comforted the two
children back at the club until their mother was able to get them.
It was an extremely difficult situation given the likely outcome.
Both clubs had a debrief, and were briefed on the following
morning's plans. Ben, Lee, Nathan, Kayla Tribe and Shannon returned
to the club the following morning to assist Police in a land and
water search conducted with the assistance of LandSAR and the
Police helicopter. Nothing was found. Ben, Lee, Nathan, Kayla,
Shannon and Cameron later returned to the club at 1500 to conduct a
land search at low tide. Unfortunately, nothing was found. The two
bodies were recovered from Kariaotahi beach north of the club by
lifeguards with the assistance of the Police over the following
Awarded to: Murray Phipps-Black, Brook
Club: Worser Bay Lifesaving Club
Date: 2 March 2011, 8.30am
Location: Worser Bay, Wellington
On the 2 March 2011, The East By West Ferry was on a regular trip
between Seatoun and Wellington City when it was hit by a large wave
that smashed the front windows. As the ferry began filling with
water the Skipper sent out a Mayday call and the 44 passengers and
crew onboard were issued Lifejackets and ordered onto the top
Brook Rapson, a Worser Bay Lifeguard who lives directly across
from the Surf Club saw the stricken vessel which was listing
heavily towards the bow and immediately contacted Murray
Phipps-Black (another Worser Bay club member that lives close by)
he then raced across to the club to prepare an IRB.
Within minutes Murray and Brook were launching the Worser Bay IRB
and heading out towards the ferry which was now 100m offshore and
drifting towards the rocks. Murray and Brook were the first on
scene and completed 6 trips from the ferry to shore transporting an
estimated 30 people back to the safety of Worser Bay Beach where
they were met by police and taken into the clubrooms. The other 14
passengers were transported to shore by the Worser Bay Yacht Club
rescue vessel who joined Murray and Brook soon after they hit the
Once all the passengers were ashore the IRB then proceeded back
out to the Ferry to lend assistance and help manoeuvre it into the
middle of Worser Bay where there was no danger of it hitting rocks.
The Police and the Coastguard assisted as passengers were bought to
Murray Phipps-Black is an experienced lifeguard and IRB operator.
He spends a lot of his time at the surf club maintaining IRB's and
training lifeguards to gain their drivers and Crewman awards. The
skills that he displayed while executing the rescue were
impeccable, he manoeuvred the IRB in challenging conditions to get
passengers safely off the ferry to shore.
The weather was horrendous with torrential rain and gale force
winds. The usually flat Worser Bay was subject to large swells,
wind chop and limited visibility. There was a real danger of the
ferry drifting onto the rocks off Worser Bay. When the ferry took
on water it lost one engine which made manoeuvring in the
challenging conditions very difficult. Murray and Brook acted
professionally and diligently to effect the rescue. They were the
first boat on the water and assumed control of the situation, the
Worser Bay Yacht club boat was the 2nd boat out there and followed
direction from Murray and Brook until the Police and Coastguard
arrived. Given the high profile nature of the incident they knew
that they could respond quickly and that back up was available if
they had any difficulty
The situation could have been worse if there had been no
lifeguards present. The way that Murray and Brook responded to the
incident allowed all the ferry passengers to be off the ferry
within minutes of it getting into trouble. If they were not present
there would have been an increased time delay in getting passengers
safely to shore, further exposing them to the risks of bring washed
overboard, or suffering from hypothermia due to the adverse
Awarded to: Fiona Whyte, Phil Jenkins,
Club: SLS Beach Ed - Kariaotahi
Date: 18 February 2011
Location: Kariaotahi beach
On Friday 18 February, lifeguards Taylor Abernathy-Newman, Phil
Jenkins and Fiona Whyte were instructing a beach education class at
Kariaotahi beach. Whilst on the morning tour of the surf club, the
head teacher alerted Fiona to a boat that appeared to have flipped
while trying to make it through the surf, 600m north of the club.
Three people had been thrown from the boat and were floating in the
Fiona immediately dispatched Taylor and Phil with the IRB to
assist the people to shore and contacted Surfcom with the details
of the rescue. The school group, realising an exciting rescue was
in progress, crowded on to the surf club deck with their teachers
and parents. On the water Phil and Taylor made a sweep of the
overturned boat. Two lifejackets floated in the surf and fearing
that there were more people in the water, Taylor dived from the IRB
to check underneath the dinghy while Phil returned to shore.
Upon arriving at the beach, Phil found that the three boaties
had made it to shore but the man who had been dragged from the
water by surfers appeared to be in a serious condition. The surfers
had attempted CPR but with no response from the man, Phil stepped
in with first aid equipment and an oxygen kit. Taylor arrived back
at the beach and the two lifeguards ascertained that the man had no
visible signs of life, no pulse and no breathing, Phil continued
with CPR while Taylor informed Fiona of the patient's status.
Due to the severity of the patient's condition and his location
on the beach, Fiona informed Surfcom and requested the Westpac
helicopter as well as an ambulance, she was told that Westpac was
unavailable but the ambulance would be there in twenty minutes.
Surfcom also tasked the Kariaotahi call out squad to help with the
incident. Realising that a fatality was a strong likelihood, Fiona
decided that the young students would need to be removed from the
surf club. Handing the teacher a radio, she told him to take the
kids to the Southern end of the beach for a walk and not to enter
the water, she informed the teacher that she would radio him when
it was clear to come back to the club.
Soon after, Jurjen Haitsma, Ben Coers, Lee Lawrence and Jim Coe
arrived at the club. The Kariaotahi lifeguards went straight to the
scene of the incident and helped Taylor and Phil managed the
situation. Just as they arrived, Taylor and Phil had managed to get
the patient breathing. The man breathed weakly on his own as the
boys put him into the recovery position and kept him on oxygen.
Fiona contacted Surfcom, to give an update on the patient's
condition and was told that Westpac was now available and would be
landing in ten minutes. Fiona asked Ben and Jurjen to return to the
club for the helicopter landing kit, but meanwhile the patient had
started to regain consciousness and was beginning to struggle. The
lifeguards restrained and reassured him as he tried to rip the
oxygen mask from his face.
As Ben and Jurjen grabbed the helicopter landing kit, Westpac
arrived overhead. The helicopter landed on the beach and proceeded
straight to the patient, upon assessing the patient they decided to
transport him directly to hospital. The lifeguards were relieved of
the patient and began to clean up the scene, helping the other two
boaties to beach their dinghy.
Upon returning to the club, the lifeguards were thrilled at the
outcome of the situation. Knowing that if they had not been at the
club that day, the man and perhaps his companions would certainly
have drowned. The guards washed down their gear and instructed the
beach education group to return to the club to continue with their
lesson. The lifeguards informed the year four and five students
that the rescue was a success and the man had lived. But drew their
attention to a very real example of what can happen if you fail to
wear your life jacket.
Awarded to: Patrol 1 - Richard Kannemeyer,
Tim Gibb, Patria Harris, Olivia Dobrowolski, Simon Dobrowolski,
Oliver Stewart, Eloise Kannemeyer, Tom Kehoe, Russell Neill and
Club: Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard
Date: 30 January 2011
Location: Mangawhai Heads Beach
On the afternoon of Sunday January 30, Surf Lifeguards were
notified that a man had been pulled from the water, unconscious and
not breathing, 200 metres from flagged area.
Immediately Patrol Captain Richard Kannemeyer dispatched Surf
Lifeguards Olivia Dobrowolski, Patria Harris and Simon Dobrowolski
on the quad bike with the resuscitation kit and defibrillator to
where the man had been pulled out of the water. They were closely
followed by Russell Neill and Aaron Young with a second
resuscitation kit. Surf Lifeguards Tim Gibb, Oliver Stewart and Tom
Kehoe, who training in the IRB, heard the radio call and responded
to the incident. Eloise Kannemeyer maintained the flags throughout
the whole incident.
A 28 year old male had been pulled from the water. He was not
breathing and had no pulse. Assistance from the rescue helicopter
was immediately requested via SurfCom. Simon instantly recognized
the severity of the incident and attached the defibrillator and
delivered the first shock. This was followed by compressions from
Tim and a second shock approximately three minutes later. While
this was taking place Patria, Olivia and Tom managed the crowd of
people on the beach to keep the situation calm.
Oliver and Aaron managed the first aid equipment, ensuring that
resources readily available for Tim and Russell. Simon was steadily
relaying critical information back to Richard, who was passing it
on to SurfCom.
Shortly after delivering the second shock, an off duty
Anaesthesiologist came offered his assistance. The team continued
compressions and resuscitation. Soon after, the patient vomited and
was immediately rolled onto his side and then checked for signs of
life. No signs of life were found and compressions continued. The
Anaesthesiologist performed a procedure to keep the patient's
airway open and further shocks and compressions were administered.
A faint pulse was then recognised and rise and fall of patient's
chest was found. Critical patient care continued to be administered
as the patient's breathing improved.
St John arrived and immediately attached a portable heart monitor
to assess the patient's respiration and heart rhythm and rate. The
lifeguards informed St John of the patient's medical history and
resuscitation information. At this point the patient's level of
consciousness was still low with him only responding to pain.
Breathing and circulation were continually monitored as he was
removed from the beach on to a scoop stretcher. The decision was
made to transport the patient in the IRB for safety and privacy, at
which time his level of consciousness increased and he began
responding to voice.
Patria, Olivia, Tom and Oliver managed the crowd and stop traffic.
They were assisted by the Local Fire Department who was setting up
The patient was then transferred to the Ambulance for further
treatment by St John staff and the Anaesthesiologist. The Ambulance
met the Helicopter at the helipad and the Paramedics onboard
assessed the patient before the all-clear was given to take him to
Whangarei Ambulance Staff have stated the following;
"Without your actions this person would have died and we were very
impressed with the level of skill and resources that were used to
achieve the best possible outcome for this patient."
Awarded to: Tai Kahn, Dave Ross, Mitchell
Powell, Laree Furniss
Club: Baylys Beach Regional Lifeguards
Date: 26 December 2010
Location: Baylys Beach
On the afternoon of 26 December 2010 (Boxing Day) Surf
Lifesaving Regional Guard Patrol Captain Tai Kahn and Baylys Beach
volunteer surf lifeguard Mitchell Powell were still in patrol
uniform as they finished cleaning and storing the lifesaving
equipment after a busy day of patrolling.
Outside the rented bach which was the makeshift clubhouse a member
of the public came off the beach and stopped, appearing to try and
get cell phone reception, then started to make a call. Tai's honed
lifeguard skills kicked in as he noticed the person looking shaken
and uneasy, Tai approached to ask if things where all right.
The person informed Tai that he was calling for an ambulance
because his friend had just broken his leg sliding down the sand
dunes to the north of the access way. Upon hearing this Tai
informed the man he had equipment and was qualified to help out
with the situation.
Tai called to Mitchell who proceeded to help him load the oxygen,
resuscitation kit, first aid kit and spinal board onto the quad
bike. After telling the other people at the house to stay to ensure
the ambulance was called and on its way, they drove down to the
beach to locate and assess the incident.
Driving onto the beach Tai was looking out for local senior
lifeguards Dave Ross and Laree Furniss who had stopped in just
minutes earlier to see if anyone wanted to join them for a surf.
Spotting their vehicle 30 metres south of the beach access Tai
decided it would be beneficial to recruit the extra senior
lifeguards skill and experience.
Dave and Laree reached for their set belts as Tai drove towards
them, his urgency alerting them that something was up. After a
quick stop informing them of the incident and to follow him, the
two vehicles headed north.
The incident and patient were easily spotted near the base of a
sand dune. Tai and Dave grabbed their first aid packs and
headed over to introduce themselves and start the initial
assessments. Mean while Laree began scene control and information
gathering off the other members of the party. The patient was lying
on his back with head towards the bottom of the dune and appeared
to have been dragged down on his body board from further up the
slope. It was quickly established that the Patient had broken his
right femur, with obvious deformity and some swelling.
Dave continued with the patients assessment while Tai organised
oxygen and reassured the patient, Mitchell was sent back to the
house on the quad to retrieve the secondary oxygen kit to have in
reserve and to check on the status of the ambulance, which could
take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to respond.
Mitchell returned to inform Tai that the ambulance had been
contacted successfully and would be on scene in approximately 30
After gathering information from the patient and group it was
discovered he was a 16 year old male and had congenital bone
defects in both his legs since birth, and had spent most of his
life in a wheelchair ruling out loss of his mobility being caused
by the injury. The patient was from Auckland, on a family holiday
and staying at the Baylys Beach camping ground.
The assessments were completed with the patient complaining of
pain in his right ankle also but, no other injuries were found
apart from the broken femur. The femoral artery was assessed as not
to have been damaged and the patient had remained conscious
throughout. Vitals were stable, airway clear and normal, pulse was
strong and blood pressure good. Even though the patient was a
status 2, due to his stable condition the helicopter was not called
Extra people from the group were recruited to help perform a
controlled log roll and place the patient onto the spinal board.
The legs were padded out for maximum comfort and stability. After
securing the patient to the spinal board he was moved off the sand
dune slope and placed on the flat sand in the shade of a vehicle to
wait for the ambulance.
The ambulance arrived at 7:15pm. The Patient was loaded into the
back and the local on-call doctor arrived with his vehicle and
While waiting for the ambulance to leave the scene the
lifeguards held a debriefing, as this was Mitchell's first
serious incident. He enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of the
team and gained valuable experience in how to deal with this sort
The ambulance left for Whangarei Hospital for surgery. The
lifeguards received back their spinal board and replacement oxygen
tubing and mask. The boy's father thanked the lifeguards for their
help before leaving with his son to hospital.
The lifeguards returned to the bach once again to clean and sort
their gear for the next days patrol happy with being able to help
out someone in need.
Awarded to: Danyon Spiller
Club: Pacific Surf Life Saving Club
Date: 13 November 2010
Location: Marine Parade, Napier
Napier's Marine Parade Beach is notorious for its dangerous
surging shore break which breaks onto a steep shingle beach during
periods of large swell.
While assisting his mother to set up for a Trivial Pursuit
fundraiser at the Pacific SLSC, Danyon Spiller, a newly qualified,
off duty surf lifeguard noticed a group of 10 young local boys aged
about 9-10 years of age, run past the club heading for the beach.
Concerned for the boys safety, because of high seas and a large 2m
shore break which was pounding the Marine parade beach that day,
Danyon followed the boys down to the beach and kept watch over them
while they played in the wash which surged up the beach after each
Despite Danyon's mother, Sherrise, insisting he return to the
club, his concern for the boys' safety caused him to continue his
Larger than usual set waves surged up the beach and the resulting
backwash caught the boys by surprise dragging all 10 into the shore
break. Nine heads reappeared and scrambled back up the beach
while a 10th was caught and pulled into the break. Danyon
immediately tore of his clothing entered the break and swam to the
struggling boy who immediately tried to use his rescuer as support.
The boy was subdued and calmed by Danyon who explained the
consequences if he did not.
The Marine Parade shore break is dangerous and good rescue
technique dictates patients are kept offshore to await the arrival
of an IRB launched from the Westshore SLSC, 10 -15 minutes away. In
this instance, being after hours and with little chance of an IRB
rescue Danyon was correctly fearful of trying to return the boy to
shore without additional buoyancy support, knowing that if he lost
the tired patient in the shore break their may not be a second
As a consequence, Danyon was required to support the tired and
cold victim offshore for 20 minutes. During this time, Sherrise
co-ordinated the retrieval of a rescue tube, an ambulance being
rung and was preparing herself to swim the tube out to assist in
Sherrise was then approached by a member of the public (previous
Pacific SLSC Junior Member Nick Perry) who swam the tube out to
Danyon. After securing the rescue tube to the patient and with the
assistance of Nick Perry, Danyon towed the boy through the break
and safely to shore. Arriving club members assisted Danyon and the
rescued boy to the club where he was monitored for hypothermia
while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance.
The patient was assessed at Hawkes Bay Hospital and discharged in
good health that same evening.
Awarded to: Peter Taylor, Joe Burnett,
Matt Ritani, Sam Craig, Kent Newman, Wilson Finch, Jock McNaught,
Aaron Smith, Anna Hemansson, Olly McKay and Hannah Logan
Club: Riversdale SLSC
Date: 21 January 2010 (the award was
given in April as the best 'runner up' for the season)
Location of Incident: Riversdale beach
George Smith and Reuben Smith, 7, with Riversdale
lifeguard Peter Taylor, who helped save George and 14 children from
ROBERT KITCHIN/The Dominion Post
At 2.30pm a contingent of young swimmers from the local
campground arrived on the beach, increasing the
swimmers between the flags from 20 to 100. Peter, Matt and Joe
stationed themselves on waters edge, and spotted a group of
five on the edge of the south flag, a far way out - Matt moved to
signal them back between the flags.
A large wave struck and knocked the first five and other swimmers
nearby off their feet. The undertow pulled them further out. Wilson
(swimming off duty) saw one of the swimmers was in distress and
advised her to put her hand up. He also encouraged the other
swimmers who were increasingly distressed to do
likewise. Peter, saw the hand go up and swam out with a tube to
retrieve the girl. He was closely followed by Joe and Matt.
A larger group of swimmers had also been pulled into a rip caused
by a combination of a feeder current and a strong drift. When Peter
arrived and saw the large number of swimmers in difficulty, and
sent Joe and Matt back in to shore to get the IRB.
Joe and Peter both secured patients. Kent, an off duty lifeguard
saw the assistance required signal and proceeded to the first IRB
and launched it with Matt. Meanwhile Peter and Joe came to shore
with a patient each and then proceeded out to another group of five
in difficulty. One of this group was submerged on arrival. This
high risk patient was clipped in and the other patients were
instructed to raft up on the tube around her.
Up at the clubhouse Jock, Olly and Anna were finishing off a
separate first aid incident. Once alerted to the incident they
brought oxygen and other medical supplied down to the beach. Jock
assisted in assembling the second IRB and got it into the water,
heading straight to Wilson's patients, then further out
to Peter to pick up a group before returning to shore to
Meanwhile the first IRB had already picked up the five patients
from Peter and had pulled in an exhausted man (George) who had been
trying to help hold the kids up. On arriving at this patient, Peter
held him up using the under arm tow as his tube had been left with
another group. The IRB arrived and took George back to shore where
he was immediately given oxygen and treated for shock.
After the main group had been pulled in, Peter and Wilson assisted
the final few patients into the IRBs and conducted a final search
of the water to ensure no one had been missed.
Back on shore, five people had collapsed and an ambulance was
called. A head count was requested to ensure all were present. The
five patients were transported up to the clubhouse and George
recovered enough to the point where he was sitting up and talking
when the ambulance arrived. Full sets of vitals were taken on the
patients at five minute intervals throughout.
The second prioritised patient was hyperventilating, so a bag mask
without oxygen flow was utilised to control breathing. Once she had
calmed down she was assessed and it was assumed she had inhaled
some water so she was put on oxygen and taken to hospital by
The other three patients were suffering from shock so they were
kept warm and comfortable and there was a stronger focus on one of
the girls who had mild hypothermia. All three gradually improved
and were able to walk home once the ambulance staff had checked
Following the incident there was a full debrief and critical
incident support was offered. This was also a presentation by Mike
and Peter on waves and rip currents. This was delivered to all
campers and extensive questions followed. More support was offered
to those involved in the incident once again.
In all, 15 patients were recued by tube or IRB.
Awarded to: Joel Davies, Philip Pirie and
Club: St Clair SLSC
Date: 8 March 2010
Time: 4:30pm -4:50pm
Location of Incident: St Clair Beach
At approximately 4.30pm St Clair Lifeguards Philip Pirie and
Antony Mason entered the surf in front of the St Clair SLSC rooms
on surf skis with the intention of heading toward White Island on a
The surf was heading from an easterly direction and a strong drift
travelling south along the beach had been created. This drift and
the north easterly wind had created a wide fast moving rip from the
southern end of the beach out past 'the point' and in a seaward
direction past second beach. The head of this rip centred off the
cliffs below Cargill's Castle approximately 600 - 700 metres from
Both Anthony and Philip were pulled southward as they
negotiated the heavy surf. As they paddled parallel to, and at the
edge of the rip, they observed a number of surfers caught it.
Anthony and Philip paddled over to the first two surfers
and had them stay on their boards and hold on to the back of their
skis while they were paddled back into the surf zone where they
were able to return to shore. They were advised to return to
the shore and to remain there. Both were of poor surfing
Anthony and Philip returned to the rip and observed a
further six surfers in difficulty. The first surfer Anthony
approached said he was unable to paddle toward shore and had been
caught in the rip for 45 minutes. Anthony decided to return to
shore while Philip remained with the surfers in the
rip. Anthony assisted the surfers by having them paddle
against the rip in an attempt to hold their position.
Two of the surfers were able to paddle along and across the rip
and reach a large incoming set that returned them onto the beach at
second beach. They were able to negotiate the rocks to
safety. Philip remained with the other surfers who did not
want to attempt beaching on the rocks.
Club member Joel Davies was surfing further north along the beach
and witnessed the initial assistance given to the surfers by
Anthony and Philip. Joel, realising that further
resources would be required returned to the beach
Anthony returned to the beach and assisted Joel to ready the
club IRB along with St Clair Lifeguard Michael Crombie and Fitzroy
Lifeguard Isaac Davies who had been surfing with his brother
The IRB was quickly launched and negotiated the heavy surf to the
surfers' position. Anthony was driving and Joel crewing. The
boat had radio communication with the surf club and guards were
ready to provide further assistance on the beach including first
aid if required.
Upon reaching the first surfer Joel told him to remain on his
board while they went to pick up a second surfer further out to sea
being supported by Philip. Once this surfer was assisted into the
IRB the first surfer was picked up and both returned to shore. Both
surfers were 15 year old students from Shirley Boys High School in
Christchurch. Both were in Dunedin for a surfing interschool. They
had average surfing ability and would have had great difficulty
returning safely to shore.
The IRB returned to the rip again where Philip was assisting the
final two surfers into the surf zone. Both these surfers were able
to return safely to shore on the southern end of St Clair
The potential for greater harm to the victims involved in this
incident was high. The response and skills exhibited by the
lifeguards involved was of a high standard especially faced with
the potential seriousness of the situation, the limited resources
initially available and the surf and ocean conditions.
Awarded to: Jonathon Webber, Greg
Wilson, Anna Schubert, Murray Bray, Mike Wood, Chase
Club: Piha Surf Life Saving Club
Date: 24 February 2010
Location of Incident: Lion Rock, Piha
Shortly after midnight on Wednesday 24 February, veteran Piha
lifeguard Jonathon Webber was interrupted by a distressed man
knocking on his door seeking assistance. The man informed him that
two of his friends had fallen from near the top of Lion Rock.
Having the presence of mind to radio the incident in to Surfcom,
Jonathon then responded to find the two men near the base of Lion
Rock in a critical condition. Joined by fellow local lifeguards who
had been alerted by Surfcom and the Piha First Response team, the
group set about stabilising the men.
Not helped by the difficult position on loose materials at the
base of Lion Rock, and working in darkness, the team were able to
assess that one of the men had critical internal injuries and the
other a badly broken leg. Both had impact injuries to their heads
and were unconscious.
Some of the team went to fetch club ATVs to provide lighting to
the area the men were in, joined soon after by the Piha Volunteer
Fire Service. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter, which was initially
unavailable arrived and an advanced paramedic assisted with the
stabilisation of the men and their careful transfer from the beach
to the helicopter for airlift to hospital.
At one stage there wear fears both men would not pull through,
however thanks to the lifeguards and in particular Jonathon's
advanced medical knowledge, the men both survived their
Awarded to: Thomas (Willy) Goer, Chris
Name of Club / Service: Regional Lifeguard
Date of Incident: Friday 1 January
Time of Incident: Approx. 7pm
Location of Incident: Kariaotahi Beach
At approximately 7pm on Friday 1 January (an hour after patrol had
ended), two members of the public pulled up to the clubhouse after
seeing a person in the water a long way out while they were at the
resort at the top of the cliff.
Chris Parker, who was the only Surf Lifeguard remaining at the
club, immediately scanned the beach and spotted the swimmer. The
person was 50 metres north of the main stream and now over 100
metres from shore behind the front bar. He asked one member of the
public to keep an eye on the swimmer and the other to hitch the
inflatable rescue boat (IRB) trailer to the rescue vehicle while he
went into the club to take a look through the binoculars.
A quick look revealed that the swimmer was indeed in distress so
Chris informed Surfcom via the rescue network, and requested back
up from the Kariaotahi callout squad. Willy Goer had only recently
departed the club and was requested to return.
Chris made his way downstairs to the gear shed where he helped to
finish setting up the IRB. Then, along with the two members of the
public he headed down to waters edge where a group of 20-30
bystanders had gathered. Chris decided to have one last look
at the patient's position, but neither he or the other bystanders
could see him.
Chris made the decision to drive the IRB solo in the three
metre surf as it could travel much faster and provide a higher
platform to search from. With assistance from a member of the
public, he got the IRB in the water and negotiated his way
through the surf to the patient's last known position.
By the time Chris got to the front bar the patient could still not
be seen. After a brief look, he caught site of him about 150
metres north, going over the top of a wave. He saw that the
patient was quite large, wearing a rain jacket and 'climbing the
ladder'. He was very low down in the water. Because of the surf
conditions and the patients location, Chris was unable to
perform a solo pick up, so he got as close as possible to the
patient and threw him a rescue tube from the IRB. Luckily the
patient, who had little time remaining, managed to get a hold of
the rescue tube and support himself.
Chris provided a quick update to Surfcom and noticed that backup
had still not arrived. He was extremely concerned as to how much
longer the patient could support himself. Just as he was about to
abandon the IRB to attempt a tube rescue, he saw Willy Goer's van
on the beach near to where the IRB had been launched. Chris
informed the patient that he had to leave but would come back, and
then made his way quickly to meet up with Willy in waist deep
Willy jumped in and they both made haste in returning to the
patient. When the IRB crew got back to the scene again they waited
for a gap in the dumping surf to perform a pickup. However there
was no such gap and the decision was made for Willy to jump
overboard with fins, and tow the patient to the land side of the
front bar where a pickup could take place.
Willy performed this task effectively and luckily came in over a
sand bar where it was shoulder deep. Every time a pickup was
attempted, the patient would scream in pain, which unnerved the
Willy then supported the patient whilst Chris decided to return to
the shallows to check if the sandbar went the entire way to shore.
It did, so he exited the IRB at shore and then made his way
out to Willy and the patient. The guards then performed a
double person drag on the patient and got him to shore, 750 metres
north from where the patient was initially swimming.
The patient had been in the water for about 45 minutes in total
and in distress for almost half an hour. He had also swallowed a
lot of water and an ambulance was requested as a precaution. The
patient was later discharged from the beach with his family in a
If the two surf lifeguards had not shown their experience and
applied themselves in the manner and professionalism of which they
did, the patient would have most certainly drowned.
Awarded to: Regional Lifeguard
Service (Kariaotahi): Chris Parker (Patrol Captain), Thomas Goer,
Andrew Meiklejohn. Matt Delmonte, Lee Lawrence, Jim Coe, Fiona
Whyte (SurfCom Operator).
Date and Time of incident:
Friday 18 December 2009 - 3pm
Location of Incident: 600m
South of SLS Kariaotahi's club house
Surf lifeguards were first notified to the incident unfolding 600
metres south of the club house by a member of the public. Andrew
Meiklejohn was in the Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving tower whilst
Thomas Goer and patrol captain Chris Parker were on duty at the
A member of the public alerted Andrew to a hang glider that
had crashed into flax. The solitary male patient was said to be
unconscious but breathing. Andrew immediately alerted Thomas and
Chris to the incident.
Because the lifeguards would need to head to the crash site, the
decision was made to return to the clubhouse and gather additional
first aid gear such as a spinal board, to complement the AED and
oxygen kits they currently had. Andrew was assigned to operate the
radios and advised Surf Life Saving Communications operations via
the rescue network of the ongoing incident and requested that an
ambulance be dispatched. On the way to the crash site Thomas and
Chris stopped to drop the flags as a safe patrolled area could no
longer be maintained.
Matt Delmonte, an off duty lifeguard, saw the rescue vehicle
proceeding south and went up to the clubhouse to offer assistance.
Radio communications at the scene were a potential problem due to
the location of the incident so Matt took a second radio and rescue
vehicle to the beach near the crash site, so that information could
be relayed between the crash site and Andrew at base. This provided
a vital communication link between the two other sites.
Thomas and Chris arrived at the base of the cliffs with the first
aid gear, where they were lead through the dense vegetation by
members of the public. It was approximately 75 metres from where
the lifeguards parked and where the patient was located up and near
the cliff face. It was a difficult exercise in itself, trying to
get to the patient because there was no track and thick
undergrowth. As they were making their way, people could be heard
yelling for help and that the patient had stopped breathing.
Thomas was first on the scene, and discovered that the patient was
still in his harness and hanging from the hang glider about 30-50
cm above the ground.
Quickly, he got two members of the public to assist him in getting
the patient down and log roll him on to his back. Thomas began a
primary survey while Chris was still trying to clear dense bush to
put down the first aid gear. Thomas' primary survey revealed that
the patient had indeed stopped breathing and was noticeably blue in
colour, as well as having a clearly broken left arm. The patient
was still in his harness, which had to be cut away before Thomas
could begin chest compressions. Meantime Chris had requested the
Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter via the radio link that Matt had
Thomas continued with compressions as Chris set up the AED. Thomas
and Chris continued CPR for approximately 10 minutes until
ambulance staff arrived. When ambulance staff arrived, Thomas and
Chris swapped roles of compressions and breaths, while the
ambulance staff went about setting up their defibrillator and
administering the patient adrenaline. Soon after the Westpac Rescue
Helicopter was arrived, an advanced paramedic on scene declared the
Although their efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful, the surf
lifeguards involved gave the patient the best possible care that
they could provide. The surf lifeguards involved showed great
teamwork and did themselves and SLS proud with their fantastic
application of skills whilst maintaining absolute
Awarded to Piha Lifeguards: Duncan Clarke, Geoff
Calvert and Rob Wakelin.
Friday November 27 2009 was clear and warm, the
first decent day in a while, and there were plenty of people on the
beach and in the water, despite challenging conditions with huge
surf and a number of rips.
Weekday patrols were not yet in operation, but Piha General
Manager Rob Wakelin was working in the club when he received a
report of four surfers in trouble at the front of the notorious
Rob dialled 111, and was able to get full and accurate
details from the informant to relay to the operator, Maritime
Police and SurfCom. He also alerted the after hours call out
squad. Rob then prepared the quad bike, inflatable rescue
boat (IRB) and radios in advance of the callout members
arriving, saving valuable time.
Minutes before the callout squad arrived, one of the surfers
came off the beach having been swept right around Lion Rock. He had
extensive injuries as a result of the huge surf conditions. He said
that two of his companions were out of the water but stranded at
the very front of Lion Rock, while the third had made it back
to the beach. The third surfer then arrived in a distressed
Rob and a Police officer who had reached the
scene took the informant and two surfers into the
clubhouse to confirm reports and to provide comfort and First
The Police officer used a Piha SLSC radio to relay
information between Surfcom and the Eagle helicopter which had
been dispatched. As the informant had been kept close he was able
to give accurate details. As luck would have it the informant was a
trained paramedic and he attended to the injured surfer as the
callout lifeguards launched an IRB to rescue the remaining two
surfers from the front of Lion Rock.
Showing tremendous driving skills in huge surf,
Duncan manoeuvred the IRB into the glut where Geoff could exit
the IRB with a rescue tube and clamber onto the rocks. Duncan then
held the IRB steady so the first surfer could leap (from some
height) into the IRB. Having returned him to the beach the
lifeguards returned to the front of Lion Rock to retrieve the
second surfer, who was also returned safely.
The professionalism and expertise this small group of members
demonstrated made this nomination a clear winner. These three
lifeguards have been involved in Surf Life Saving for many years.
They epitomise In it for Life!
Awarded to United North Piha Lifeguards: Rob Pidgeon
(PC), Leif Neilson, Jonathon Gallia, Sam Jenkins, Johnny
Clough, Steve Bushell, Alistair Walling and Leon
On Easter Monday United North Piha Lifeguards noticed a group of
people fishing from a rocky peninsula at the northern end of
the beach. In particular, one individual who was much further
advanced along the rocky outcrop than the others. The tide was
still incoming for another hour and the surf conditions were 1.5m,
rough and challenging.
Patrol Captain Rob Pidgeon dispatched an IRB crew to investigate
the situation. IRB Driver Leif Neilson and crew Sam Jenkins
(trainee IRB driver) responded with Jonathan Gallia onboard as a
rescue swimmer. The IRB proceeded north approximately 1.5km and
upon arrival on the scene realized that the fisherman had become
isolated on the rock by the high tide and was in imminent danger of
being swept off by the unpredictable surf. Also, the fisherman did
not appear to have any floatation devices and was dressed in heavy
clothing. The remainder of the group was in a relatively safe
position below the cliffs.
Neilson, a senior lifeguard, identified the fisherman's
predicament, but due to the rocks could not manouver the IRB close
and given the surf conditions, felt that it was unsafe to send
Gallia, junior lifeguard, into the water. Neilson instructed
Jenkins to drive the IRB, while he entered the water with a rescue
tube and fins. Pidgeon and Alistair Walling were monitoring the
incident from the tower and quickly instructed a second IRB to
provide support to IRB 1 which was remaining stationary close to
Driver Johnny Clough (senior lifeguard), crewperson Steve Bushell
and rescue swimmer Leon Batten (senior lifeguard) launched IRB 2
and arrived on scene as Neilson, who had been swimming against the
strong rip, managed to climb onto the rock and secure the fisherman
with the tube. Batten also entered the water from IRB 2 with a
rescue tube and fins and joined Neilson on the rock. While the
lifeguards prepared to re-enter the water with the patient secured,
he quickly became distressed and uncooperative; they did their best
to reassure the fisherman but the language barrier proved
difficult. At this stage, Walling continued to keep a visual on the
lifeguards from the tower while Pidgeon advised Surfcom of the
Once in the water, the strong rip next to the rocks meant that it
was very important that the IRB stayed close to prevent Neilson and
Batten from being swept out to sea with the patient. IRB 2 was in
position to receive the lifeguards and promptly pulled the patient
aboard, while the lifeguards were retrieved by IRB 1. Radio contact
with the IRB's was variable, so Pidgeon dispatched an ATV with
medical equipment, including a spinal board, to the scene as a
precaution. Both IRBs returned to the beach, where Clough and
Bushell undertook a primary survey and found that the patient did
not require further medial attention.
The lifeguards on the ATV arrived on scene and advised Pidgeon
of the patient status who quickly passed this information onto
Surfcom. Finally, the shaken but uninjured fisherman was
transported via ATV to his vehicle where his family was waiting and
all lifeguards returned to continue active patrolling.
The patrols response to this incident was exceptional as it
demonstrated a high level of lifeguarding, training and utilization
of available skills and resources whilst maintaining an effective
patrolled area. This rescue prevented what could have been another
drowning by a recreational fisherman on Auckland's wild west
Awarded to Muriwai Lifeguards: Danny Tenhuevel,
Christopher Butt, Amber Prestegard, Billie Haresnape, Dayna King,
Ben Tapurau, Rick Wells, Sean Joyce and Ian Boyce.
On Saturday 21 March a report came through of a boogie
boarder being swept around the rocks near Maori Bay. Amber
Prestegard and Billie Haresnape completed a full sweep of the area
in an IRB but with testing conditions of 4-6ft dumping surf the
lifeguards could not spot a boogie boarder in distress. Patrol
Captain Danny Tenhuevel and Dayna King then proceeded on foot to
the steps leading into the Sugarloaf Rock area.
Danny heard some yelling from a fisherman standing on a high ledge
on Sugarloaf Rock. The fisherman was agitated and pointing to the
water. Danny immediately radioed to base to send the IRB back and
sent Dayna into the water to contact the fisherman and search for
patients around Split Rock.
As Amber and Billie returned to the area they saw a person face
down in the water. They quickly pulled up the lifeless body of a
fisherman. Danny immediately radioed SurfCom to let them know of
the situation and to request the Westpac rescue helicopter and an
Amber and Billie raced the unconscious victim back to the beach
where patrol members Rick Wells and Ian Boyce carried him up the
beach and prepared resuscitation equipment. Showing no signs of
breathing and an undetectable pulse, Amber commenced CPR, whilst
Billie commenced oxygen therapy under the direction of Dayna. Rick
and Ian provided scene management. After approximately two minutes
of chest compressions the victim aspirated water and begun to
breathe weakly on his own. Amber and Billie continued to provide
oxygen therapy, and monitored the patient's vital signs. The
patient's condition began to improve and he was responsive to pain
and verbal stimuli by the time the Westpac helicopter
Lifeguards returned to Sugarloaf Rock where Dayna again made
contact with the stranded fisherman and encouraged him into the
water and into a waiting IRB crewed by Ben Tapurau and Sean Joyce.
Dayna swam back around Sugarloaf Rock to check for other potential
victims, but due to the large surf she was unable to continue her
The Westpac rescue helicopter with senior lifeguard Christopher
Butt performed an aerial search for a possible second patient. The
resuscitated fisherman's status had begun to rapidly decline so the
helicopter returned to transport the patient to hospital. He was
still in intensive care the next day.
The resuscitated fisherman's survival and the successful rescue of
another fisherman at the same time is testament to the skill and
bravery of the volunteer lifeguards at Muriwai Beach.
Awarded to Hot Water Beach Lifeguards: Gary Hinds, Logan
Carter, Peter Curry, Stacey Semmens, Connor McVerry and Cody
Patrol had only been operational for five minutes when cries for
help were heard from just outside the flagged area. Lifeguards
quickly identified two swimmers desperately signaling for help and
Peter Curry swam with tube and fins in the direction of the now
struggling swimmers. A radio call was made to base just as Cody
Muir entered the water closely followed by Connor
Meanwhile Peter had reached the first two patients but was alerted
by them that the other two swimmers were in need of immediate
assistance. He swam another five meters and secured one of the
swimmers into the tube with the other swimmer saying he was ok and
would swim along side them.
The flash rip that had caused these swimmers to be quickly taken
out to sea had now sucked the first two patients out past Peter
when Cody reached them. He secured one of them into the tube;
however further complications were created by a cross current now
running directly through the first rip and he found himself and his
patients being taken further out to sea. Cody remained calm,
reassuring his patient and assisting her through waves.
During this time Gary Hinds and Logan Carter launched the IRB and
negotiating the waves made their way out to Cody to safely return
his patient to shore. Connor had also reached his patient who was
now very frightened and clinging to a surfer's board. He was lying
flat on the board and took the tube Connor offered him but no
amount of persuasion could get him off the board. With the surfers
help Connor succeeded in bringing the patient back to shore,
stabilizing him through waves by holding the board.
The surf was challenging and was making it increasingly difficult
for the IRB to reach the other patients. Connor and his patient
returned to shore followed by Peter who was swimming with one
patient clipped into the tube and the other swimming next to him,
refusing help of any kind but still climbing onto Peter's back or
grabbing the tube each time a wave came through.
All patients were assessed on land, some suffering minor shock and
requiring oxygen therapy, but all eventually returning to their
It was later discovered that the first swimmer had gone for a swim
outside the flagged area and got into trouble. The second person
went out to assist but also found difficulty so the third and
fourth swimmers went out to try and help but once again ended up in
The quick actions and excellent team work of these guards no doubt
prevented a horrendous incident from occurring. This rescue once
again demonstrates how important it is to never underestimate the
conditions and always swim between the flags.
Awarded to Bay of Plenty Lifeguards: Luke Yabsley,
Spencer Raymond, Matt Williams, Jake Smith, Jacinta
Gibbons-Hurunui, Martine Smith, Shaun Moran, Alex Wheeler, Tyler
Bracken, James McNeil, Luke Smith and Becky Pennell.
While patrolling a closed beach, lifeguards at Pauanui beach
watched as an 18ft (5.4m) single hulled vessel attempted to cross
the bar. Sensing the innevitable Luke Yabsley (RNLI lifeguard
visiting from Devon, England) and Spencer Raymond responded in the
IRB, launching the boat in the water just as the vessel was struck,
broached and overturned in large 6-8ft dumping surf.
Luke and Spencer proceeded out to the incident reaching the
victims in minimal time. As they approached the vessel they quickly
assessed the situation and decided to pick up the two children aged
two and six and threw a tube to a third victim. After dropping the
children to fellow lifeguards Tyler Bracken and Becky Pennell, the
IRB proceeded back out to bring the three remaining victims to
shore. By this stage lifeguards Matt Williams and Jake Smith had
arrived on the scene by quad bike with Oxygen kits and a
Matt and Jake immediately began oxygen therapy treating one of the
older patients for severe exhaustion, shock and also secondary
drowning as he had swallowed a lot of salt water. While completing
a secondary survey Luke discovered a large haematoma, checked for
concussion and noted it for the ambulance handover and proceeded to
place the victim on a stretcher for transport.
The two parents and oldest child where in a stable condition so
were kept warm and monitored while Matt performed a secondary
survey on the youngest child as she had gone under water multiple
times. Further lifeguards arrived on the scene assisting with the
incident and bringing blankets and a stretcher while keeping in
constant communication with Jacinta Gibbons-Hurunui and Martine
Smith at the tower who had called for the ambulance service,
Westpac Rescue helicopter and other lifeguards from neighbouring
Surf Club Tairua.
As the ambulance crew arrived a handover was done by Matt
Williams, shortly after regional lifeguards from Tairua beach
arrived to offer assistance. After the handover was made, guards
continued to offer assistance to patients, reassuring and
supporting them and went about setting up a clear and safe
helicopter landing zone. Almost an hour after the event first
occurred the Westpac Rescue helicopter arrived with the ambulance
paramedic handing over to helicopter crew and Matt, Luke and
Spencer prepared the patient for transfer and aided the crewmen in
As soon as the helicopter departed lifeguards became involved in
another serious incident involving a jet-ski. After guards had
rescued the jet-ski driver, all lifeguards immediately
reconditioned their equipment and returned to the tower to resume
From the time guards in the tower first spotted the struggling
craft until when the helicopter lifted off, these members of the
regional guard service and Trust Waikato Pauanui Surf Life Saving
Club demonstrated an excellent standard of patient care, knowledge
of operational procedures, competency in using lifesaving
resources, highly commendable team work and forward thinking all in
very challenging conditions. Without their prompt response and care
this would have no doubt been another tragic event in New Zealand's
Awarded to: Northern Region Guards Dave Comp, James Lea,
Mason Dray-Hogg, Lauren Gibbs, Paul Francois (Bethells Beach) and
David Butt (Muriwai c/- Westpac Rescue Helicopter).
As patrol was being set up off duty lifeguard James Lea ran to the
patrol tower to alert the guards that there had been an incident
involving fishermen at the cable (a popular fishing spot) they had
been swept off the rocks.
Dave and James immediately launched an IRB and asked Paul to
coordinate with 'Surfcom'. He advised 'Surfcom' there were two
fishermen in the water, one unconscious and one missing and
requested immediate emergency service.
As the IRB arrived at the scene they saw a group of fishermen on
the rocks by their unconscious friend. James dived into the water
and swam to the rocks he then had to move the 130kg+ man to higher
ground and started CPR, while Dave drove solo back to get
additional help. Westpac rescue helicopter had also been
Dave was met by Mason on the beach and together headed through the
difficult surf conditions back to the rocks. Mason swam to the
rocks to assist James and once again Dave made his way back to the
beach on his own to collect Lauren to begin the search for the
Westpac rescue helicopter arrived and with amazing skill the pilot
managed to lower a paramedic to the scene (rotor blades were only
one meter away from the rock face). Although the helicopter was in
close to the cliff James still had to grab the paramedic's legs to
pull him onto the rock. At this point Mason had taken over
During this time Dave and Lauren continued with their search of
the caves and monitored the scene while an additional IRB from
Muriwai was dispatched. Together they continued the search. No body
Unfortunately the fisherman on the rocks had been pronounced
deceased by the paramedic and David Butt jumped from the helicopter
and swum to the rocks assisting James and Mason as they now had to
face the daunting task of swimming the man to the IRB to return him
A call was also made to the Bethells Base to evacuate the Rookie
Lifeguards and send them to the lake well away from the scene when
the body would come back to the club.
James, Mason and David then carried the body out into the huge
seas and towed him to the awaiting IRB. Being the size he was made
this a very difficult task, especially when the lanyard of the tube
became tangled in the prop.
This rescue once again demonstrates the increasingly intense and
difficult situations that our lifeguards are becoming involved in.
The skill, professionalism, team work and care showed by the
guards, not only for themselves but other club and beach users were
absolutely above par and although unsuccessful all involved should
be immensely proud of their actions that day.
Awarded to: Bay of Plenty Lifeguards Allan Mundy
(Omanu), Ashleigh Cleverley and John Devery (both from
First thing in the morning the bus pupils were arriving on a
number of buses outside Mt Maunganui College during rush hour
traffic. School was about to begin. A young girl had just been
dropped off on the opposite side of the road to the school by her
older brother. She exited the car, walked across the road and
was hit by an oncoming truck.
Staff member Jane Doherty saw the accident occur and heard the
younger brother yelling out. After digesting what had just
happened, Jane ran to the college foyer raising the
As Jane entered the foyer she saw Allan Mundy and told him of the
accident. Allan immediately went out to the site also assisted by
fellow lifeguard Ashleigh Cleverley who offered to help.
Upon reaching the site the girl had been dragged by her brother
towards the side of the road, Allan anticipated serious danger with
Mt Maunganui road being a main arterial road into the Port, a 70km
speed zone and heavily used by large trucks. Allan immediately
instructed the traffic to stop while coordinating various staff as
they came onto the scene.
Allan then carried out a primary survey of the girl on the road.
Her airway was blocked so he initially applied a jaw thrust but was
unsuccessful so attempted a maximal head tilt which allowed the
girl to start breathing. There were large amounts of blood and the
position the girl was lying in made it difficult to establish if
the patient had a pulse. Allan and Ashley worked together and found
there was a weak pulse and the patient had begun to moan.
During this time Allan discovered the patients head was very soft
upon light palpation, she had suffered a severe head injury. During
an attempted secondary survey Allan also noted massive bruising
across the patient's abdomen and lower chest. John Devery then
arrived at the scene with a Bag Valve Resuscitator the school had.
Allan applied this to assist with the girls breathing as this was
becoming increasingly sporadic and shallow. It was at this time
Allan and John conferred noting the girl's pupils were becoming
dilated and along with the extent of the injuries, that she was
dying. Being aware of the large number of pupils who had gathered
on the opposite side of the road and the students who had been kept
in the other buses Allan made the decision to continue with the
expired air resuscitation as she still had a pulse.
Soon after this the girl's mother came onto the scene hysterical
inadvertently pushing Allan onto the patient. She was restrained
and comforted by John who at this stage had secured the site
safety, gathered all the family members allowing Ashleigh and Allan
to concentrate solely on the patient. Being outside a school the
scene management was extensive.
The ambulance and fire crews eventually arrived and Allan
briefed the ambulance crew who then promptly took
the patient and rushed her off to hospital. CPR was attempted
by the crew whilst in the ambulance but unfortunately the injuries
suffered were so severe she did not make it to hospital.
This first aid rescue by Allan, John and Ashleigh displayed
extreme courage and maturity especially considering the enormity of
the scenario which was further exaggerated with 250 students,
parents and teachers amalgamating outside the school gate and
trying to safely control the traffic flow on a busy and very public
highway. Their skills and abilities were extremely professional and
vigilant and were greatly appreciated by the family of the victim
and everyone else involved on the day.
Awarded to the volunteer lifeguards from Whangarei Heads
for their efficient and professional patrol, successful rescue and
patient management. Lifeguards involved: Teresa Hill, Jessica
Robinson, Reuben Kake, Hazel Buchanan and rookie guards: Zac
Whitsitt and John Michael Hicks.
During flag duty two guards spotted a surfer raise his arm in a
rip running from a hole in the middle of the beach. Guards
immediately entered the water to assist the struggling
Another three lifeguards who were swimming out the back of the
flagged area saw the rescue taking place and immediately swum over
to assist while others returned to shore to take over flag duty.
Rescue equipment and vehicles were also dispatched by guards in the
The two tube swimmers arrived at the surfer and after a quick
assessment identified the surfer was going into shock. They removed
the surfer's leg rope and clipped him into a tube and towed the
surfer back into the beach.
When they arrived at the beach Oxygen was applied to the patient
and he was assisted into the rescue vehicle. The patient was
monitored on the beach until he was considered stable and then
escorted to the clubhouse for a warm shower, final assessment and
release to his friends.
Although not a dramatic rescue, the success of this rescue was
threefold. The threats at the beach were discussed at the start of
patrol briefing and therefore all patrolling members were primed
and aware of the potential areas of risk. Secondly, every member of
the patrol had designated 'buddies' and roles should an incident
occur; this was inclusive of the rookies who proved to be valuable
assets. And thirdly, very little instruction was required as each
individual dealt with their specified role in a proficient
As one rookie guard said at the end of patrol whilst still buzzing
after his involvement; "We talked about this happening today and we
all did exactly what he said we should."
Awarded to Piha and United North Piha Life Guards for
their combined rescue and advanced scene management. Life Guards
involved: Abbi Manley, Cali Manley, Liz Manley, Vanda Karolczak,
Paul Picot, Gary Turton, Ukiah Brown, Tony Featherstone (PC), Paul
Downey, Jason Anderson, Merrin O'Brien, Jess Hosking, Jonathon
Webber, Geoff Calvert , Hayley Seymour, Leif Neilson, Brent
After patrol had finished for the day, lifeguards at South Piha
were packing up when a member of the public alerted them to a
person "being carried away in a current" through large messy surf.
After a brief but intense search by lifeguards some distance from
the original patrol area, the unconscious patient was returned to
shore. The Westpac Rescue helicopter was called while
communications were managed and additional resources (stretcher,
blankets, extra oxygen and AED) where brought to the
Distressed family members were looked after by additional life
guards, as statements and other information was recorded.
The person was transported from the waters edge to the mid-beach
helipad where ambulance officers took over the management. The
patient's condition was deteriorating fast and it was hugely
important that all information that was collected and recorded by
the guards was handed over to the ambulance officers to ensure they
had a clear picture of what had happened. As the ambulance officers
continued to work on the patient lifeguards kept communications
between SurfCom and the ambulance dispatch going and ensured the
helipad area remained secure. In poorly lit conditions lifeguards
transferred the patient to Helimed, in preparation for transfer to
hospital. He remained in a serious state in Auckland City Hospital
for three days before being discharged.
Throughout the incident lifeguards continually liaised with the
family, provided additional help to the patient and documented the
incident to ensure an accurate hand-over to the ambulance and
Helimed officers. Lifeguards were highly commended on their work by
both the ambulance and Helimed teams. It is without doubt that the
quick-thinking response from this team and the extremely effective
scene management the means for this successful patient rescue and
Awarded to United North Piha and Muriwai lifeguards,
namely Jesse Pidgeon, Stefan Hollier, David Butt, Matt Buswell and
Ari Peach, for the outstanding skill and courage showed in
On the morning of February 6th 2008 a report of a fisherman being
washed off the rocks at Bethells Beach was received by United North
Piha Lifeguards. Jesse and Stefan immediately responded with an
IRB, a second IRB crewed by Matt and David was dispatched from
Muriwai, and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter with Lifeguard Ari Peach
on board, was also launched from Mechanics Bay.
When the IRBs arrived at the area where the patient was last seen,
it was decided that the best option was to drop Ari from the
helicopter into the heavy surf, and the IRBs assist him to the cave
entrance. After searching for a number of minutes Ari located the
patient at the rear of the cave. In almost complete darkness he
hauled the patient to the mouth of the cave, but large surf and
strong currents made it near impossible to exit. After numerous
attempts, David joined Ari, while Matt controlled the IRB, and
using a double tube tow they swam the patient to the waiting IRB.
Jesse and Stefan then assisted Ari, David and the patient into the
boat where he was assessed and returned to the club house.
Unfortunately, he was later confirmed deceased.
The lifeguards involved in this rescue showed excellent team work
and outstanding initiative in testing conditions. Unfortunately
this rescue was not a successful one, but their actions gave the
patient every chance of survival.
Awarded to the Surf Lifesaving Hawkes Bay Regional
Guards on Marine Parade, namely Amy Vaughan, Sam Riddell and Avril
Turvey, for their physically and emotionally demanding
Lifeguards were alerted that a child was in the water some
distance down the beach. Two guards were sent on a quad bike to
assess the situation with others remaining at the club house to
monitor calls to and from the police and other Surf Club officials.
While on their way down the coast line a man was spotted in the
water. One guard took a tube and negotiated a large shore dump to
reach him while the other continued down the beach where he swam
out to a child who appeared unconscious. The child was brought to
shore and CPR was conducted. Unfortunately the child was pronounced
dead at the scene by ambulance officers.
Meanwhile additional lifeguards had arrived at the scene and
assisted the remaining guard through dangerous conditions to return
the other patient safely to shore. He was later discharged from
Although this rescue was not successful, the manner in which the
guards responded to the rescue and how the situation was dealt with
immediately after the traumatic event was extremely professional.
All the guards and club members should be extremely proud of their
Awarded to Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club, namely Nathan
Smith and Liam O'Toole, for their physically demanding rescue of 5
Nathan was out on a knee board when he was alerted to 3 young
girls who had become caught it a rip. He immediately paddled over
and successfully assisted them back to shore. Once back on shore
they informed him that more girls were further out in the rip. He
immediately returned to the water and headed through the rip where
he spotted one more female who was caught in white water and in
severe difficulty. Nathan got off his knee board and assisted the
semi conscious girl back to shore, where he was again told there
was still one person in the rip. For a 3rd time Nathan returned to
the water searching for the missing girl. Thankfully Nathan spotted
her and returned the unconscious and limp girl back to shore.
Nathan then returned to the club house where Liam joined him to
bring oxygen and other first aid equipment. The patients were then
transported back to the club where they were monitored until an
ambulance arrived. All patients were discharged the same day.
Both Nathan and Liam showed maturity and expertise beyond their
years which in no doubt saved the lives of the five girls.
November 2007 - Raglan Lifeguards Sarah Sharp,
Chase Cahalane, Sarah Amoore, Brett Richards, Catherine Arbuckle,
Jennifer Snowden, Emma Snowden, Josh Searle, Lisa Oldridge and Mark
Bridger plus Rookie Lifeguards Katene Connor and Isaac
At around 3.45pm with a head count of approximately 200 in the
water and 500 on the beach (about an hour before low tide), Isaac
Newberry in the tower noticed a swimmer on the northern flag
appearing to be getting into some difficulty, also gaining the
attention of Sarah Sharp on flag duty.
Brett Richards and Chase Cahalane ran down the beach, meeting
Sarah at the Inflatable Rescue Boat. Chase and Sarah launched
the IRB south of the flags and proceeded around to the swimmer who
was being kept afloat by his friend's boogie board. The panicked
swimmer was pulled into the IRB, followed by his friend with the
boogie board. After questioning the two patients, it was discovered
that they had lost sight of a third friend, and after relaying this
information to the tower, a second IRB was with a crew of Brett
Richards and Mark Bridger (off-duty lifeguard) was
As IRB1 was returning the original two patients to the waters
edge, they spotted their friend, and this was confirmed via radio.
Lisa Oldridge (off-duty lifeguard) and Katene Connor (Rookie) met
the two patients at the
waters edge with the quad, and proceeded to assess their status
and take their details.
IRB2 had already entered the water and had spotted two boogie
boarders (patients three and four) at the back of the flags.
Patient four was quite large (approximately 140kgs), making it
very difficult to get him into the IRB. The patient clung onto the
IRB while it negotiated a number of waves before eventually
Brett and Mark were able to get patient four into the
boat. On their way to assist, IRB1 noticed a further swimmer
(patient five) closer to the flags who was struggling and was in
obvious need of assistance. Catherine Arbuckle who had been on
flags had also spotted this patient, and was en-route for a tube
rescue. Chase was able to avoid other members of the public, get to
the patient, negotiate three waves while the patient had a hold of
the boat, pick him up, and safely remove the boat from the flagged
IRB1 then returned patient five to the shore at a similar
time to IRB2 returning with patients three and four. Upon exiting
the IRB, patient four appeared quite unsteady on his feet, but
declined the offer of oxygen or assistance as suggested by Lisa
Oldridge, Jennifer Snowden and Chase. The patient instead chose to
make his own way up the beach. Lisa followed him on the quad, until
being tasked by the tower (where Sarah Amoore and Isaac Newberry
were continuing to watch the water and co-ordinate) to assist an
injured lady up the hill, who had approached lifeguards but had
declined first aid assistance.
Meanwhile, IRB2 had returned to the water and two surfers
(patients six and seven) north of the flags and well out from shore
signaled for assistance. Both were picked up and returned to shore,
before IRB2 returned to pick up Catherine, and continued to survey
the swimmers with the assistance of IRB1. Upon being satisfied that
all swimmers were safe, the IRBs returned to shore to regroup. Soon
after, Sarah A called for assistance from the tower, as
patient four had presented himself to the tower. He told Sarah
A he had managed to climb the stairs although had to stop a few
times, as he had taken on some water before being rescued.
At this stage, Club President Anne Snowden and off-duty lifeguard
Emma Snowden had also arrived at the beach to drop off some gear,
and came down to the tower to assist.
Sarah S responded from the waters edge to the tower, put the 19
year old male on oxygen, and began to assess the patient. On
becoming aware that the patient had taken on water, and was not in
an alert state of consciousness, SurfCom was notified that an
ambulance was required, and Anne took over communication with Surf
Com. Sarah S continued to monitor the patient, gather medical
history, treat for shock and gather other information while
lifeguards regrouped and continued to monitor the water and flagged
By the time the ambulance arrived (after approximately 10
minutes), the patient was appearing very drowsy and cold. The
ambulance officer assessed the patient, and decided the patient
needed to be transported to Waikato Hospital. Because the patient
was large, and would not have been able to transport himself down
the narrow tower stairs, the decision was made to put him onto a
spinal board to carefully transport him down. Members of the public
and lifeguards were utilized to ensure this occurred safely.
All lifeguards involved reacted with professionalism and
expertise. Had they not acted so effectively, this situation would
have had a less desired outcome.