‘We wouldn’t be here without you’
Young boys thank adults after near-death surf rescue
Posted on 10.10.2018
Two Sunshine Coast boys say they would not be alive if it was not for the adults who risked their own lives to save them from a “brutal” rip on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday afternoon.
Tyler Reid, 11, Felix Hall, 11, and another boy were on a sandbank about 600 metres south of the flags at Kawana Beach when they were pulled into the rip.
“It was really strong. The waves were big and they were pushing us down and pulling us back,” Felix said.
It is not known how long the boys were in the surf when a couple walking their dog on the beach heard their “blood-curdling” screams as the boys struggled to stay afloat more than 100 metres offshore.
“When I saw them I was just like ‘Yes, we’re not gonna die’,” Felix said.
Rochell Blair, 31, and her fiancé Jonathan Clare, 30, never go for beach walks without a mobile phone.
But on Sunday they had left their phones behind, and with no beachgoers nearby they had no way to raise the alarm.
In a split second, the pair dashed into the water to help the boys.
Mr Clare said by the time he reached the boys he had to decide who to help first.
“I was helping him out and then realised that Rochell was out there with the other two boys and I was like ‘Oh god’,” he said.
Surf lifesaver’s gut instinct helps save group
Amid the treacherous conditions Ms Blair, a former surf lifesaver, was instructing the boys to stay on their backs, keep moving their arms and legs, and stay above water.
All the while she kept a safe distance “that I’m not going to get drowned underneath”.
“The undertow was just insane,” she said.
“You would do three strokes and you were getting pulled back five. It was crazy.
“And then next minute I turn around and there’s the jet ski and I was like ‘Where did this guy just come from?'”
That guy was Scott Edwards, a Brisbane firefighter, surf lifesaver and long-time member of the Kawana Surf Club who was doing a roaming patrol of the coast’s southern beaches.
He had followed a gut instinct to patrol the southern beaches instead of heading north towards Maroochydore.
During that patrol he had warned at least a dozen swimmers that they were not within the flags and were alongside a rip.
Then he spotted the frantic waves coming from the group.
“From the way I saw one of the young fellas go under twice, I don’t think it would’ve been another minute or so before he would’ve been under”
Swimmers Felix Hall and Tyler Reid say they will now ‘swim between the flags’ after the terrifying rescue.
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