Six men involved in a dramatic sea rescue off Ballina will today be presented with bravery awards.
The crew of the Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue and the Ballina Marine Rescue team are being recognized for their efforts on 15 April, 2013.
The Jet Boat crew consisted of Bradley Heard, Gary Murphy and Mark Puglisi, and the Marine Rescue team included Elton Cummings, Ben Redman and Ross Trease
The drama began In the early hours when members of the Marine Rescue team were called to assist a motor cruiser that had broken down while attempting to cross the sandbar at the mouth of the Richmond River in Ballina.
As they navigated through a two metre swell and outgoing tide, they reached two men on the stricken motor cruiser.
Whilst attempting to tow it through the sand bar, a large swell hit the rescue boat which resulted in both the rescue boat and the motor cruiser capsizing and throwing both crews into the water.
The crew of the Ballina Jet Boat then made their way to the scene whilst battling very rough water conditions.
Three men were located on the hull of the upturned vessel, and a further two men in the water nearby.
The five men were subsequently hauled out of the water on board the rescue jet boat.
The rescue helicopter was called in to winch the five men to safety however, due to the inclement weather conditions, the men were unable to be winched aboard.
The rescue jet boat was then skilfully manoeuvred away from the sandbar and made its way to the safety of Shelley Beach where the rescued men were treated for hypothermia.