Taylors Mistake surf lifeguards awarded for swift response after life-threatening rock fall

Posted by Administrator on Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Taylors Mistake Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) has won the January BP Rescue of the Month award for their response to a critically injured person on rocks near their club just after New Year’s Day.

A total of eight lifeguards from Taylors Mistake responded, with assistance from Sumner SLSC, to make sure the person had the best chance of survival despite being in a critical, life-threatening condition after their 10-plus metre fall onto rocks near the beach.

Tisha Jamieson, Craig Jamieson, Mike Smith, Patrice de Beer, all rushed to the scene to help armed with advanced first aid knowledge due to the extent of the injuries in this delicate emergency. Sumner SLSC's highly skilled ECOS team including Kate Suter, Melissa Patterson, Eden Cotter and Tom Denman also launched their IRB to assist.

When the surf lifeguards were first dispatched, the patient’s exact location was not known, so an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) was prepared to start a search in the water, but due to the low tide, surf lifeguards were able to reach the patient via foot over the rocks.

The team from Taylors Mistake then worked quickly with paramedics, Police, the local Rescue Helicopter and an off-duty nurse to stabilise the patient allowing the patient to be winched away from the rocks and incoming tide, onto the beach, before being airlifted to hospital.

Southern Region Lifesaving Manager, Chris Jeffery, said this was another great example of the wide range of skills volunteer surf lifeguards have, particularly the advanced first aid skills that make them “valuable assets to the community, even away from the beach.”

“The surf lifeguards that responded to this rescue are some of the most experienced at Taylors [Mistake]. They have invested a lot of their own time upskilling both in lifeguarding abilities and first aid, and we couldn’t have had better people on scene to help,” he explained.

“Everyone is proud of these lifeguards who did an amazing job at this incident. From working with the other agencies, to using their first aid skills, and helping ensure the safety of everyone involved, they had it all covered and no doubt that made a difference in getting this person to hospital quickly, which was so important in this case.”

At the time of the rescue, Police had high praise for the lifeguards involved, and made special mention of their skills, including the ability to clear a safe landing area for the helicopter and the way they integrated their first aid expertise into the response without requiring guidance.

“It’s also great to see our Christchurch clubs all help each other out, so thanks to Sumner for their support in this rescue. I think it’s indicative of clubs right around New Zealand who work together to keep the public safe, but well done to our local Christchurch lifeguards who did exceptionally well over summer,” he added.

BP NZ Managing Director Debi Boffa said the skills demonstrated by the team in the rescue were outstanding. 

“Since 1968 we have been proud to stand behind this amazing organisation who help save the lives of thousands of people every year as well as educate people about how to stay safe on our beaches,” she said.

For their efforts, Taylors Mistake SLSC get a $500 BP gift-card and formal recognition of a job well done.

However, the club can celebrate a double win after also taking second, where they’ll be awarded with an additional $300 of BP gift cards for a second rescue in January also in conjunction with Sumner SLSC. Getting third is Ocean Beach Kiwi SLSC from Hawkes Bay, who get a $200 BP gift card for their rescue.  

SLSNZ National Lifesaving Manager, Allan Mundy, extended his congratulations to all clubs who submitted an entry for January’s BP Rescue of the Month because “they’re all deserving of recognition.”

“This month we had over 10 entries and we are proud of every single one, because ultimately, lives right around the country were saved thanks to the efforts of surf lifeguards. So a huge thank you to all those volunteer lifeguards who helped Kiwis throughout January,” he added.

The next round of BP Rescue of the Month will be announced later in March, with any rescue taking place in February eligible for the Rescue of the Month award.

File photo. By Cody Keepa.

For more information, please contact:

Alana McIsaac, Media & Communications Manager
Phone 027 515 7157
Email media@surflifesaving.org.nz