Swimmers saved by Emergency Response Beacon

Nov 09, 2022

Personal locator beacon

Surf Life Saving NSW says that two men in their 20s have been rescued at Dreamtime Beach after a woman activated the Emergency Response Beacon (ERB), alerting the Surf Life Saving NSW State Operations Centre that the men were drowning.

Lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service were tasked to the incident at the notorious drowning hotspot at about 4.30pm on yesterday (Monday, 7 November) when the call came through from the distressed young woman.

Lifeguard Supervisor, Lachlan Field said lifeguards asked for more details from the operator in the State Ops Centre but there weren’t any because one of the girlfriends had activated the beacon and she was upset and panicking.

Beacons are life-saving

‘That’s where the beacons are life-saving because you have the location and you have cameras so you’re not reliant on the informant, you can find out for yourself whether the person in trouble has gone round the headland or not, for instance.’

In a remarkable turn of events, a member of the public took the initiative to retrieve the angel ring floatation device, which is attached to the beacon, and raced into the water to attempt to save one of the men. The second man was picked up and returned to shore by lifeguard Field aboard a surf rescue jetski from Kingscliff.

‘Those two people are really lucky, I doubt we would have gotten there in time without the beacon.

‘On the phone, we may not have been able to get a location or assets there in time but with the ERB, we know immediately it’s activated that the job is straight there.

A needle in a haystack

Mr Field says Dreamtime Beach runs for 2.5kms so without the beacon rescuers would have had to start at one end and search all the way down the entire beach before we getting to the headland

Both of the rescued men were taken by ambulance from the beach and were conscious and breathing at the time of transport.

‘We had great support from the Fingal Rovers SLSC as well, their call out team sent a buggy down and they had their inflatable rescue boat on standby should we have needed it,’ said Field

‘We got there first because we were on duty down at Kingscliff already, but we had all areas covered, it was a great response from both lifeguards and lifesavers.’

Dreamtime Beach is one of 20 blackspots

The ERB at Dreamtime is one of 20 currently positioned at blackspots around the state, the initiative managed by Surf Life Saving NSW and funded through the NSW Government.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said ERBs are continuing to roll out across the State. ‘This is exactly what the Emergency Response Beacon was designed for, allowing members of the public to raise the alarm so our lifesavers can do what they do best along any part of our beautiful coastline.

‘Each beacon helps our lifesavers respond faster to emergencies in the water.’

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