Tathra Surf Lifesaving Club Andy Poole DriveTathra 2550

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January 2012 News

Rescue of the Year.

The rescue of a 19 year old Tathra man in March by member of the Far south coast Emergency Callout Team was recently awarded the SLS NSW Rescue of the Year.

The man was fishing with two other 18 year old men from Tathra at Wapengo Lagoon, five kms north of Tanja, when their boat overturned crossing the bar at Bithery inlet.

Two of the men made it to shore on their own, but the third man remained unaccounted for and rescuers held grave fears for his wellbeing as none of the men had lifejackets or flotation devices.

Tathra Surf Lifesaver, Tony Rettke and his 16 year old son, Jordan, responded to the scene by car and immediately raced into the messy two metre surf with just rescue tubes searching for the missing man.

Fellow club member Maree Bolton was on the scene with resuscitation equipment and surveyed the area from land, while Scott Meaker and Geoff Bolton responded from Tathra Surf Club in an IRB.

Lifesavers searched for the man for around 30 minutes. Eventually they heard his cries for help in the vicinity of where Tony and Jordan were swimming. The man was rescued by the IRB before being transferred too hospital by the NSW Ambulance Rescue Helicopter. He was taken to Bega Hospital in a serious condition suffering severe hypothermia.

Far South Coast SLS Duty Officer Andrew Edmunds commended the lifesavers' actions. "What we have seen here is an incredible selfless act of bravery by all members of Tathra Surf Club involved in the rescue, which quite remarkably averted tragedy.

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"The odds were stacked against him, given the remoteness of the location, being more than 45 minutes from the nearest surf club, compounded by the dangerous conditions.

"The Tathra members deserve recognition and congratulations for their swift actions, and their ongoing commitment to community safety."

A number of lifesavers involved in the rescue were directly involved in the Tathra Wharf tragedy in 2008 and received Meritorious Awards then for their actions.

The lifesavers involved in this rescue will also be nominated for Meritorious Awards for bravery.

In photo from left to right: Scott Meaker, Maree Boulton, Geoff Boulton, Jordan Rettke and Tony Rettke.

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