Swim turns deadly at Red Rock
Dianne Langan, from Werribee, Victoria, told local photo journalist Frank Redward she was alerted to a problem when she saw cars moving up and down the beach road near the caravan park at the picturesque spot.
“My husband and I ran to the beach to see if we could help,” she said.
“We were asked if anyone could perform CPR and as my husband (Barry) is an AFL trainer, he said he could.
“Unfortunately, despite our efforts, he was pronounced on the beach.”
Mrs Langan said the waters around the popular spot was dangerous and she called for people to be careful.
“They need to heed the warning signs,” she added.
Despite those valiant attempts, a young Korean man became the latest casualty of an innocent swim at Red Rock.
Emergency crews were called to the spot just after 5pm to investigate.
Police say a group of people had been bathing and riding bodyboards when one of the men, 27, was washed into a rip.
“An off-duty lifeguard was able to pull the man from the water and onto his surfboard,” a police spokesman said.
“He paddled to a rock formation and after raising the alarm, commenced resuscitation.
“The man, a Korean national, could not be revived.”
Police will prepare a report outlining the full circumstances of the incident for the information of the coroner.
Coffs Harbour City Council's lifeguard co-ordinator Greg Hackfath says the key to stop drownings such as Wednesday’s tragedy at Red Rock was for bathers to swim only between the flags.
Mr Hackfath said it was a simple message he wished more people adhered to.
“Lifeguards and lifesavers in Coffs Harbour and around Australia for that matter say it every year – no flags, no swim,” Mr Hackfath said.
“If you’re desperate for a swim and there are no patrols – even if you’re a local who knows how to handle the conditions – we urge you to swim wherever the surfboard riders are.
“After all, they rescue more people from trouble than anyone else.”
When asked if the way to stop drownings at Red Rock was to close the beach to swimmers, Mr Hackfath said it wasn’t as simple as that.
“How do you close a beach? It’s not as simple as saying no-one is allowed to swim there,” he said.
“We have signs up warning of dangerous currents and when no patrols are operating but still people choose to swim.
“We know when you close beaches due to dangerous conditions, people still go in.
“Only last year when we closed Diggers Beach we had two 15-year-olds kids who wanted to swim down the southern end.
“When there’s no-one around the situation can’t be monitored and out of hours, people are left to their own devices.
“Sometimes I’m at a loss to try and help manage these situations. We advertise and we plead with people to do the right thing, yet the drownings continue.”