Karekare Surf Life Saving Club Awarded 2nd Place for Nov '21 bp Rescue of the Month

Thursday, 10 February 2022

A Missing Pair of Jandals and a Dramatic After-hours Rescue Saves Family from Deadly Rip

After two busy days of patrolling and rescues at Karekare beach, lifeguard Shalema Wanden-Hannay returned to the beach in search of her jandals. At the beach, she noticed a father and his two children swimming at the mouth of a dangerous rip. Shalema knew it was urgent to shift the swimmers having performed CPR on a 14-year-old who drowned in this rip a year ago.

Shalema jumped on top of the all-terrain vehicle and signalled the swimmers to come in immediately. Understanding that backup was crucial, Shalema drove to the brow of the sand, just in sight of the clubhouse, and signalled to the remaining lifeguards at the club that assistance was required. She raced back to the rip, grabbed three rescue tubes, and ran into the water. 

Shalema swam to the first patient, a 16-year-old boy, and provided him with a rescue tube. The boy indicated that his father was in serious trouble so Shalema swam rapidly in his direction. The father was face down in the water, unconscious and not breathing. Shalema rolled him over and cleared and opened his airway. 

Meanwhile, following Shalema’s call for assistance, lifeguards Eti Eves and Shalema’s husband, Shawn Wanden-Hannay had launched an IRB and raced to Shalema who was supporting the unconscious patient. 

Eti and Shawn swiftly pulled the patient in the boat and made their way to the third patient, a 14-year-old boy who was going under. Shalema’s daughter, Jess Wanden-Hannay met the IRB and pulled the unconscious patient, who was not breathing, onto her so the IRB could turn around to rescue the remaining patient. 

Jess, Mike Mulcahy, and a member of the public carried the unconscious male up the beach and began CPR while Amber checked the other patient and comforted the distressed family members who were surrounding the lifeguards. 

Simultaneously, the IRB returned with the final patient and Shalema and Shawn raced to support the lifeguards performing CPR until the patient began to take small breaths. The lifeguards continued with assisted breathing until the Westpac Helicopter arrived.

The lifeguards involved in the rescue have been praised by the Westpac and hospital staff for their exceptional patient care, rescue response, and professionalism.

bp Head of Country NZ Matt Elliott says, “Since 1968 bp has been proud to stand behind Surf Life Saving New Zealand and its Surf Lifeguards who consistently put their amazing skills into action to keep us all safer at our beaches.”