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Two teens save woman's life in dramatic beach rescue


Two quick-thinking teenagers have leapt into action in the first hour of their first patrol with surf lifesavers performing a dramatic rescue at a Sunshine Coast beach.

Showing experience beyond their years, volunteer recruits Joe Tolano and Darcy Lewis, both 13, used exceptional board, radio and rescue skills to save the woman at Sunshine Beach at the weekend, after she experienced trouble while swimming in rough conditions out past the back surf break.

The woman, aged in her 40s, was just visible from the shore when the woman’s friend alerted lifesavers and the young volunteers Joe and Darcy (Surf Lifesaving Rescue Certificate Award graduates) sprung into action.

"We were doing a roving patrol in a buggy, which means we start at the flags on Sunshine Beach ... about 400m down the beach we got waved down and they startyed pointing 'person out there'," Joe says.

"I started to paddle out as fast as I could, I had to roll two waves before I got to her.

"I calmed her down and told her to hold onto the front of the board and waited for assistance."

Darcy immediately grabbed the radio to notify the team.

"I was pretty nervous but I knew Joe had the skills to rescue her," Darcy says.

"I just like spending all that time at the beach ... and potentially saving people's lives helps too."

Sunshine Beach Surf Lifesaving Club director of lifesaving John Reeves said the boys displayed remarkable bravery, confidence and lifesaving skills and the rescue demonstrated the crucial need for the public’s ongoing financial support.

“The impressive part is these young recruits are often better paddlers and swimmers than adults - but what’s challenging is dealing with a panicked adult in the surf who is much bigger than them,” said Mr Reeves.

“To deal with an adult who is in a state of panic and could be three times their body weight is a huge feat – and while youngsters are incredibly capable it is essential we have the support to nurture and develop their skills so they continue to develop confidence and don’t end up in a situation that is beyond their capability.

“During the weekend rescue there were numerous adult surf lifesaving volunteers on the scene, and the recruits were under constant guidance from trained members.


The cost of setting up a single beach patrol can add up to more than $80,000 worth of crucial life saving equipment.

“The Queensland Lifesavers Appeal from October 9-17 supports the incredible work our lifesavers do keeping our loved ones safe,” said Mr Reeves

“So please get behind our Annual Queensland Lifesavers Appeal so we can ensure this vital service continues into the future.”

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