The Westpac Rescue Helicopter on another mission.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter on another mission. Westpac Rescue Helicopter Servic

Fears of summer onslaught after 12 days of high drama

SUNSHINE Coast life guards and life savers are bracing for a summer onslaught rising day by day.

Already this month a spate of rescues have had them working overtime as people flock to the pristine beaches.

On December 6, Coolum life guards were forced into action due to unstable conditions, being involved in a mass rescue.

A flash rip swept eight inexperienced swimmers off their feet, forcing the rescue effort.

Last week saw a pair of young girls were rescued at Sunshine Beach - they'd been boogie boarding outside the flags and were sucked into a rip.

Thursday saw nine teenage boys left lucky to be alive after a night swim in Currimundi gone wrong.

While over the weekend in Maroochydore, six swimmers were rescued by life savers outside the flags.

Yesterday at Alexandra Headland a 65-year-old was also rescued by life savers. Lifesavers at Sunshine Beach also assisted three swimmers back to shore after they were caught in a rip.

 

Sunshine Coast life guard supervisor Anthony King said their work always increases in the summer holidays
Sunshine Coast life guard supervisor Anthony King said their work always increases in the summer holidays Patrick Woods

It got worse. A woman rescued by helicopter after dragged 100m out to sea at Mudjimba.

Sunshine Coast life guard supervisor Anthony King said their work always increases in the summer holidays.

To accommodate with the influx of tourists, more beaches are opened and more life guards and life savers are patrolling.

"We actually extend our operating hours, they're usually 8am-5pm, now they're 7am-6pm," Mr King said.

"We increase the man power on all our major beaches, Mooloolaba, Noosa, Coolum, Kings Beach to four or five life guards.

"As always, people should make sure they only swim on patrolled locations and swim between the flags.

"If they have any questions about the conditions they should ask the life guards on duty and heed to their warnings.

"A lot of the time people think just near the flags but just outside the flags can easily have a rip right there."

He said every beach along the Coast came with its only dangers. No beach was is the same.

12 days of Christ-Drama

  • Dec 6: A flash rip swept eight swimmers off their feet and out to sea in Coolum
  • Dec 13: Two young girls rescued saved from rip at Sunshine Beach
  • Dec 15: Nine teens rescued after Currimundi night swim
  • Dec 16: Six pulled from Maroochydore outside flags
  • Dec 17: Four patients pulled from rips, one at Alexandra Headland, three at Sunshine Beach
  • Dec 17: Woman rescued by helicopter after dragged 100m out to sea at Mudjimba

He said the last week alone, the patrolling crews had had their work cut out.

"A lot of people think the protected beaches like Noosa and Mooloolaba are safer, but they come with a higher amount of dislocations and spinal injuries," he said.

"They have big open stretches and the sand bars are more gradual and banks are larger. They drop off quickly and flash rips will see people get into difficulty.

"But every beach has its own hazard. Some have a lot more blue bottles, others have heavy dumping waves.

"Just swim between the flags and enjoy our beaches for what they are."

 

Katelyn Cunningham, Emma Wainwright and Tara Kennedy loving the summer on Mooloolaba Beach.
Katelyn Cunningham, Emma Wainwright and Tara Kennedy loving the summer on Mooloolaba Beach. John McCutcheon

Three who were enjoying the wonderful Mooloolaba Beach on Saturday were friends Katelyn Cunningham, Emma Wainwright and Tara Kennedy up from Brisbane.

One suggested going to the Gold Coast instead which was quickly shot down.

"We are here soaking up the beautiful weather and nice temperature to swim," the girls said on Saturday.

"We always come to Mooloolaba ever since we were young. We thought about going to the Gold Coast but it just wouldn't be the same."

When asked what they do to stay safe on the beach, their response was simple.

"Make sure to swim between the flags," they said in unison.

"Especially if you are going to go out far so, the life guards need to see you.

"I was caught in a rip once when I was little but managed to get out of it quickly. But it was a bit of a scary situation," Ms Wainwright added.

 

Katelyn Cunningham, Emma Wainwright and Tara Kennedy loving the summer on Mooloolaba Beach.
Katelyn Cunningham, Emma Wainwright and Tara Kennedy loving the summer on Mooloolaba Beach. John McCutcheon


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