Routine training turns to rescue

Friday, 19 February 2016

A routine training session turned into an after-hours callout on Wednesday night at Scarborough Beach near Sumner, Christchurch.

A member of the public called Police when a young body-boarder became caught in the breakwater that runs under the Whitewash Heads cliffs. The local surf lifesaving callout squad was activated and responded immediately.

Despite having fins, the power of the rip was dragging the boy offshore. A nearby surfer noticed he was in trouble and swapped boards with him, pushing him into a wave to try and get him close to shore.

As the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) arrived, having negotiated the large, messy swell, they picked up and returned to surfer to shore.

At the same time as locating the young body boarder, who was now being assisted by another surfer, they were waved down by swimmers who had spotted another surfer in distress. He was precariously close to the rocks and making no headway out of the rip.

The crew retrieved the surfer and his board and returned to shore to check on the status of all patients before completing multiple sweeps of the area to check on the remaining members of the public in the water.

The Sumner Lifeboat alarm had also been activated and a crew responded, helping to maintain contact with the person who raised the alarm initially and making sure the young boy's family were communicated with throughout the process.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand club development officer for the Canterbury region, says the various agencies showed great collaboration throughout the operation.

"The rescue was a true showing of a community coming together to ensure the safety of those using our favourite playground," he says.

Click here to view the video footage.

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Specialist, SLSNZ
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823