Dramatic helicopter surf rescue at Narooma

A 13-year-old boy had had a lucky escape after being pulled from huge surf this morning at Narooma on the NSW Far South Coast.

The boy and his friend, both on holiday from Sydney’s northern beaches, were attempting to surf waves off the Narooma bar when they got into difficulty in large surf.

One of the 13 year olds was able to make it back to the northern end of Bar Beach under his own power but the other found himself and his board being swept out toward the Kianga headland.

Narooma surf lifesavers and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopter from Moruya responded just before 8am.

“Conditions at the scene were very dangerous, we got our IRBs in the water very quickly but it was decided the helicopter would be the safest option given the large surf,” FSC Surf Life Saving duty officer Andrew Edmunds said.

“Luckily the other surfer made his own way in but the 13 year old was very cold and exhausted. He simply was too tired to handle the tough conditions.

“As he was being winched into the aircraft he and rescue crew officer Luke Ashford were struck by a large wave.”

“It was exceedingly dangerous and fortunate no lives were lost.”

Narooma police were first alerted to the mother’s 000 call at 7.55am with the information being that a boy on a surfboard was caught out to sea, drifting toward Kianga.

Sergeant Steve Mawson said Surf Rescue and VRA volunteers as well as Ambulance paramedics all arrived in the bar area, and the Westpac helicopter arrived within 15 or 20 minutes.

“He was beginning to tire and could not get back to the beach,” he said.

The helicopter set down on the Kianga headland to offload the boy who was exhausted but uninjured.

Even so he was fit enough to enquire about his board that was last seen drifting out to sea.

His mother appeared on a national television morning show on Monday morning thanking the rescuers.

“She was very, very appreciative of the decisive and rapid response of the emergency services,” Sergeant Mawson said.’

The Marine Rescue Narooma unit says it was not notified of the emergency and while the radio operated spotted the helicopter, it was thought to be a training exercise.

Two days earlier, a couple of local, big surf expert locals relished the even-bigger conditions when they took on the rolling swells off the Narooma bar that looked to be all of the 5m forecast.

The tow-in surfers used a Jet-ski to get on the massive waves riding them to the applause of the crowds gathered on the Narooma bar break walls.

See their story also on this website…


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