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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Heroic river rescue off Ballina RSL

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L–R – Steve Smith, Jared Arundell, Mark Gray.

Quick thinking by Ballina RSL staff and a heroic dive into the dark waters of a river at night saved a woman from drowning last Monday.

Around 9.30pm last Monday night, staff heard the screams and calls for help from the river and, running to the end of the wharf, discovered that a woman had fallen in.

Jared Arundell dived straight into the water, fully clothed, to help her, and with help from Mark Gray and Steve Smith, managed to pull her out of the water and provide first aid assistance until the ambulance arrived.

Ballina RSL CEO Bill Coulter was full of praise for the staff. ‘It was about 9.30 at night, so if she hadn’t screamed out she could have been swept downriver with the tide and out to sea,’ he said.

‘It was a very courageous effort. Although the area is lit up, once you are in the water it’s pretty dark. It says a lot about the character of the young blokes that they just dived in boots and all to save her.

‘We later discovered that in the past she had been Jared’s schoolteacher, but at the time he heard the screams, he didn’t know that.

‘She was an older woman, and it had been pretty cold in the water. Thankfully we were able to help the lady and save her from the water, and then keep her warm inside the club until the ambulance arrived.’

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