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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Swimmer drowns at Suffolk Park

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Despite the best efforts of first responders, a man couldn’t be revived after getting into difficulty at Suffolk Park near Byron Bay on Wednesday (December 13).

The man, a 21-year-old from Brisbane, was pulled unconscious from the surf by a member of the public shortly before 12:30pm.

An off-duty firefighter who witnessed the incident, which occurred approximately 200 metres south of the caravan park, immediately commenced CPR.

Nearby lifeguards were informed of the situation and travelled to the scene to provide additional support.

Police and paramedics continued to perform emergency treatment but sadly all attempts to save the man were unsuccessful.

Officers from Tweed Byron Local Area Command have commenced investigations into the incident.

Conditions at Suffolk Park at the time the man got into distress were believed to be challenging with a powerful rip current making its presence felt.

Earlier on Wednesday lifeguards were tasked to respond to a swimmer who also got into difficulty but they were ultimately able to extricate themselves from the situation.

With today’s tragic incident coming just days the before the official school holiday period kicks-off, lifeguards are using it as an opportunity to reiterate to the public the importance of swimming at a patrolled location.

This was an extremely difficult situation with the real tragedy being that beaches across the state, including Suffolk Park, will begin to be patrolled shortly,’ said ALS Northern Coordinator Scott McCartney.

‘I would like to acknowledge the efforts of everyone involved in trying to save the man’s life. Their valiant efforts gave him a chance and our thoughts go out to his family and friends.’

Investigations into the circumstances of the incident are continuing.

Tips on how to spot a rip current

Some signs include:
Deeper, dark-coloured water
Fewer breaking waves
A rippled surface surrounded by smooth waters
Anything floating out to sea or foamy, discoloured, sandy, water flowing out beyond the waves.
Rips don’t always show all of these signs at once.

Rip current survival tips

Relax – stay calm and float to conserve your energy
Raise – raise your arm and attract attention from lifeguards or lifesavers
Rescue – the lifeguards or lifesavers will be on their way to help you

 

While floating, rip currents may flow in a circular pattern and return you to an adjacent sandbar

You may escape the rip current by swimming parallel to the beach, towards the breaking waves.

Reassess your situation. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try one of the other options until you’re rescued or return to shore.

 

 


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