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Byron Shire
March 24, 2023

Man drowns trying to save girl at Fingal Head

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Ryan Martin (Instagram photo)
Ryan Martin (Instagram photo)

A Gold Coast man aged in his 30s drowned trying to save a mum and daughter caught in a rip at Fingal Head yesterday (Friday) afternoon.

Ryan Martin, from Burleigh Heads, described as a good Samaritan by Gold Coast media, was among four people who swam out to help a family of three caught in the rip on the southern end of the headland and  swept around the rocks.

Police say emergency services were called to Fingal Head Beach around 3.30pm, following reports of a drowning.

They say that a seven-year-old girl had been struggling while swimming in the water and a number of people jumped in to help her.

After she was carried safely to shore, two men began to struggle in the water.

Surf Lifesavers were able to pull both men from the water and they were given CPR by Ambulance paramedics, but one of them could not be revived and died at the scene.

The second man, aged 21, was taken to Tweed Heads Hospital, along with the seven-year-old girl and her mother. All have since been released.

Investigations into the death are continuing and a report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.


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  1. Yep Ryan Martin died performing an heroic and selfless act.
    The parents let the 7 or 8 year old child swim next to rocks at an unpatrolled beach on an outgoing tide with swell in excess of 1m. What followed was a tragic chain of events as people tried to rescue the girl. Just over the headland lifesavers maintained a safe swimming area at Fingal Beach. When the alarm was raised they responded quickly.
    The question is what consequence will follow for the adults who neglected the safety of the child and set the tragedy in motion? Child neglect.. child endangerment and a good man pays with his life…


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