BATTLING the element of surprise, a rough surf and impending darkness, surf lifesavers from Evans Head rescued a woman from drowning late on Monday evening.
Jon Rigley, captain of the Evans Head-Casino Life Savings club, was relaxing at home just after 7pm when he got a phone call from the police. A woman had been seen entering the water at the north breakwall and hadn't emerged.
He sprang into action immediately.
Mr Rigley rang the life guard on-call Ben Redman and they both headed to the beach where they found clubman Callum O'Grady.
"I got onto the board while Ben and Callum jumped in the boat," Mr Rigley said. "All up we had the boat in the water in 10 minutes of getting the call."
"The woman had drifted about 400m out, she was extremely distressed and screaming.
"The surf was pretty rough, not extreme, but it was dark, it was right on dusk. It was an extremely dangerous time to do a rescue.
"I had pretty much decided to turn the board around because it was so dark, but we switched the motor off one last time and we heard her," Mr Rigley said.
Eyewitnesses suggested that the life savers deserved a bravery award.
But Mr Rigley wasn't convinced the trio of lifesavers deserved any awards.
"What do you say? What we did was just part and parcel of being a surf lifesaver with that level of commitment, of being on call.
"We were just very fortunate with the timing, five minutes later and it would have been very different," he said.
Mr O'Grady, 18, has been a member of the club for three years and grew up at Evans Head.
"I was just down at the beach at the time checking out the surf.
While it wasn't Mr O'Grady's first rescue, he certainly hadn't done one quite like it before, he said.
"We were just doing what we are there to do," Mr O'Grady said.
It has been a pretty quiet summer for the Evans Head-Casino patrol in terms of rescues, but it always pays to be prepared, Mr Redman said.
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