Gold Coast surf lifesavers honoured at Parliament House

Eleven Gold Coast surf lifesavers were recently honoured at Parliament House in Canberra for their brave rescue of seven people on 26 January this year.

Surf lifesavers from Tallebudgera and Pacific Surf Life Saving Club’s as well as Gold Coast Surf Life Saving Duty Officers were awarded Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Rescue Medal at the Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving event on 16 June for the outstanding rescue they performed on January 26, 2021 at Tallebudgera Beach.

Multiple people were swimming and became caught in a rip just south of the Tallebudgera rock wall. The Tallebudgera IRB that was roving the area was immediately radioed with the support operations rescue watercraft (RWC) ‘Waverunner 3’ driven by Scott Burgess also nearby and able to respond.

Once the patients had been rescued by the IRB and RWC, an ambulance was called as one patient had ingested a lot of water and was losing consciousness. Oxygen therapy was administered to assist the patient while waiting for the paramedics to arrive on scene. Before the Queensland Ambulance Service arrived, the patient had stopped breathing and CPR was started.

Surf Life Saving Australia President John Baker ESM said there was little doubt that the patient may not have survived without the quick thinking and support provided by the group, or the collaboration and coordination between the two neighbouring surf lifesaving clubs, the RWC and the duty officers.

“Had the surf lifesaving patrols, RWC or Duty Officers not been present, the patient who had ingested water would certainly have drowned and the quick action prevented the other six people from getting into further trouble,” said Mr Baker.

“What’s even more impressive is that shortly after this mass rescue at Tallebudgera both the Tallebudgera IRB and Scott Burgess on the RWC, went onto to perform more rescues and save additional lives nearby”.

Tallebudgera SLSC Club Captain, Duty Officer and RWC operator, Scott Burgess said that he knew that day would see constant rescues up and down the Gold Coast.

“I just had the feeling that it wasn’t going to be a good formula between the big tides, the public holiday and the amount of people on the beaches – there were just rescues constantly up and down the beaches,” Burgess said.

“But if you were looking for a text-book exercise of the coordination between the members on the beach, the support operations and the Duty Officers, that day would’ve been it – everything just worked really well.

The event was attended by the Co-Chairs of Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving, Jason Falinksi MP, Member for Mackellar, and the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Member for Kingsford Smith, with the Gold Coast surf lifesavers presented their award by the Minister for Sport, Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck.

Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Rescue Medal is a national initiative that recognises the courageous and outstanding achievements our surf lifesavers and members perform on our coastal waterways every single day.

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