Holiday heroes save tourist

Holidaying nurse Belinda Walterback and Sydney visitor Matt Brown saved a fellow tourist’s life at Park Beach yesterday.
Holidaying nurse Belinda Walterback and Sydney visitor Matt Brown saved a fellow tourist’s life at Park Beach yesterday. Frank Redward

TWO holidaymakers have saved a life at Coffs Harbour, with one visitor bravely swimming into a rip to save a woman and the other reviving her with CPR.

Matt Brown, from Sydney, bravely entered a strong rip at Park Beach to rescue two women in trouble.

He pulled the older woman from the surf unconscious, leaving the teenager floating on his boogie board.

Battling against the rip, Mr Brown managed to paddle the woman to shore where a nurse on holiday administered CPR to the 53-year-old after her pulse had stopped for seven minutes.

Nurse Belinda Walterback successfully revived the woman while her husband Steve dashed into the surf to help the teenager still struggling in the swirling current.

“She was lifeless,” Mrs Walterback said.

“We did CPR for what felt like forever. . . thankfully it all ended well.”

The Guyra locals were swimming 300 metres north of the lifeguard flags around lunchtime when they got caught in the rip.

At the same time, Mr Brown was swimming with his children when he heard their cries for help.

He ran ashore, grabbed his board and headed out.

“When I got there, the younger girl was distressed which is understandable as the older lady was unconscious,” Mr Brown said.

Lifeguards also arrived when the woman was on the beach and pulled the teenager in and assisted with CPR.

After more than five minutes, the woman began breathing again before being taken to hospital by ambulance.

She was admitted to Coffs Harbour Base Hospital in a stable condition yesterday afternoon.

“Something just comes over you and you’ve just got to help,” added Ms Walterback.

“We were lucky we had the lifeguards there, too.”


THE dangers of rips were again highlighted yesterday when two women were pulled from the surf at Park Beach.

CoffsHarbour City Council’s senior lifeguard, Greg Hackfath, stressed theimportance of not panicking if you do become caught in an undertow.

“Don’t try to struggle against the rip. Instead, you should wave your arm and call out for help,” Mr Hackfath said.

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