• Bondi members recognised for Rescue of the Month

    Apr 20, 2021 By Surf Live Saving Admin

    Congratulations to Bondi SBLSC members Richard Nicholas and Courtney Date who have been awarded Branch ROM March 2021 Winners. 
    Following the NSW Sydney Rain event the Colo, Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers exceeded the Major Flood Class Levels, the scope and intensity of the following had not been seen in a generation. Communities along the Colo River and along the Putty Road found themselves isolated in the rapidly rising waters with the potential for some properties to be inundated causing a significant risk to life. The State of Emergency Service commenced an evacuation. 
    As we are all aware SLS Sydney tasked club IRB teams and Duty Officers to assist with this disaster working together with other emergency services.
    At approximately 1pm on Tuesday 23 March a Marine Rescue NSW vessel and its crew of 3 were transporting 2 adults and 2 small children evacuees when it became caught on a cable which pulled the vessel over onto its side in swift water, at which point it rapidly filled with water and capsized shortly after. Two crew members were ejected into the water and managed to hold onto the hull. The other crew member and the 4 evacuees were then trapped upside-down in the upturned boat.
    On seeing this unfold the crews of an SES Boat and Bondi SBLSC IRB, crewed by Richard Nicholas and Courtney Date sped to assist. The crew of the SES boat used their craft to try and prevent the Marine Rescue Vessel being washed away with the 5 persons inside, with a crew member and Courtney Date from Bondi IRB jumping into the water to attempt to rescue the now trapped persons.
    The water was cold and still moving quickly, visibility was low and there was much debris including the item that had originally capsized the vessel. To enter the water was extremely hazardous however the SES member and  Bondi member Courtney Date did so without regard for their own safety, as in doing so there was a real and present risk to their lives. The 2 adult evacuees managed to exit the submerged boat and were recovered into another SES rescue boat. The SES crew member and Courtney Date made numerous attempts to enter the upturned hull by ducking under the water being totally immersed. Visibility was zero and the boat was being washed downstream. Together they eventually managed to reach inside the hull and pulled a trapped child out by their legs. The second child was then pushed down out of the submerged hull by the other crew member whilst he himself was trapped inside. The children were recovered into rescue boats. The crew member then swam out of the hull being the last person to be recovered.
    This rescue was extremely hazardous and was conducted in extremely difficult conditions. Without the swift, decisive and courageous actions of Courtney Date, Richard Nicholas in his ability to control the craft to allow Courtney to effect the rescues, and their emergency services counterparts, this incident could have resulted in the fatalities of these trapped.
    Congratulations and thank you to Bondi SBLSC members Richard Nicholas and Courtney Date for your bravery in effecting this rescue.