A man remains on life support after being pulled from the surf at Byron Bay’s Main Beach on Friday. But he would have died at the scene if it weren’t for the quick actions of local lifeguards.
The 58-year-old New Zealand man who lives in Australia was bodysurfing when he is believed to have hit his head on a sandbank.
He has likely been rendered paraplegic by the accident, in which he injured vertebrae in his neck.
The man was not breathing and no pulse could be detected when lifeguards pulled him from the water and commenced CPR.
They have been praised for their efforts, which saw a weak pulse established after 10 minutes of constant CPR, minutes before paramedics arrived at the scene.
Australian Lifeguard Service manager, Nigel Tebb, praised their response and professionalism.
‘Even with seemingly safe swimming conditions this incident highlights how things can go south quickly in a dynamic environment like the beach.
‘The ALS lifeguards on the day demonstrated their professional training and kept cool heads throughout trying circumstances in order to regain a pulse,’ said Mr Tebb.
The man was taken by Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter to Gold Coast University Hospital, where he remains in a critical condition.