Lifesaver’s message following spate of Coast drownings

 

A SENIOR Gold Coast surf lifesaver says it's "disrespectful" to enter dangerous surf outside patrol hours, saying rescuers are frustrated after a horror spate of drownings.

In the wake of three tragic water deaths and a further three near-drownings since Thursday, Gold Coast Surf Lifesaving co-ordinator Nathan Fife is pleading with tourists and locals to stay out of the water during unpatrolled hours and not to attempt to swim at closed beaches.

Broadbeach gym manager Jake Jacobs, 32, and his female companion Julia Boika, 29, died after a late-night swim on Thursday.

 

Gold Coast SLS Coordinator Nathan Fife pictured on Tugun beach getting ready for the start of the surf life saving patrols.
Gold Coast SLS Coordinator Nathan Fife pictured on Tugun beach getting ready for the start of the surf life saving patrols.

 

Ms Boika's body was discovered on Thursday night while Mr Jacobs' body was found on Friday night.

Within 12 hours of his body being retrieved, another swimmer drowned in giant swells off Mermaid Beach.

The 34-year-old Victorian tourist had been swimming at the closed beach and was spotted struggling in the surf just after 7:30am.

Lifesavers rescued the man but he died on the shore.

"We have had three drownings, all outside patrol times. It's very frustrating for lifeguards because if you are swimming before patrol hours or after hours, no one can see you. There is no one on the beach, no one in the surf to spot you and unfortunately, there is a very high risk that you might not make it back in," Mr Fife said.

"It's pretty disrespectful that people go swimming when we're not there. It's hard when we can't help someone.

"Our lifesavers, they do a good job but the job they do, it's not for everyone. It's frustrating for our members to deal with pulling these people to shore because they weren't swimming between the flags in patrolled areas."

 

A surf lifesaver plants a flag at Kurrawa Surf Club. Picture: Alex Coppel.
A surf lifesaver plants a flag at Kurrawa Surf Club. Picture: Alex Coppel.

 

Mr Fife said swimmers were not only putting themselves at risk but putting the rescuers forced to enter the surf in dangerous conditions in harm's way.

Many Gold Coast beaches are expected to remain closed on Monday as huge surf continues to pound the coastlines.

"These warnings are for the safety of everyone - the people swimming and those going out to rescue you. We do have many great days on the Gold Coast so you're not going to miss out. When beaches are closed stay out of the water. We don't want our lifesavers risking their lives to save someone who has disobeyed the warnings," he said.

 

Gold Coast City Council Life Guards instruct swimmers to leave the water due to dangerous surf. Photo: Scott Powick NEWSCORP
Gold Coast City Council Life Guards instruct swimmers to leave the water due to dangerous surf. Photo: Scott Powick NEWSCORP

 

Mr Jacobs and Ms Boika had gone swimming in the late hours of Thursday night.

Mr Fife said it was "absolutely crazy" to go enter the water in the dark.

"If you're with a group and someone says 'lets go for a swim (at night)', be the person to stand out and say 'It's not a good idea to do this'. Pull them up straight away and look after each other," he said.

Two women, aged in their 20s, were on Saturday hospitalised following a near-drowning at the Main Beach off about 2.20pm on Saturday.

They were taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition.

On Sunday, paramedics were called to a Ormeau home following a near-drowning in a backyard pool on Sunday morning.

Paramedics were called to the private residence about 8.30am after reports of a "post-immersion incident" involving an adult male aged in his 40s.

He was transferred to the Gold Coast University Hospital in a critical condition.

 

brianna.morris-grant@news.com.au

 

 

 

Originally published as 'Disrespectful': Lifesaver's message following spate of Coast drownings


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