Volunteers save a life at Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic

BYRON volunteer surf lifesavers responded professionally to a near drowning during the annual Ocean Swim Classic at the weekend.

According to Byron Surf Life Saving Club president Neil Cameron, the numerous water safety volunteers given the job of keeping order during the popular event responded like true local heroes.

About 600m from the finish of the 2.5km course from Wategos to Main Beach, a Brisbane man was found unconscious underwater.

Two competitors pulled him to the surface and raised the alarm and a massive rescue swung into action with a swimmer and a club member on a rescue board transferring him out of the competition lane and onto a waiting inflatable rescue boat.

From there, other volunteers assessed the man as not breathing and having no pulse. One immediately started CPR as another drove the boat to the beach.

Once the rubber duckie hit the sand, other club volunteers along with lifeguards gave him oxygen and attached a defibrillator. After three shocks his pulse returned.

Ambulance paramedics attended soon after and by giving further treatment the man regained consciousness. Paramedics transferred him to Byron Bay hospital then Tweed Heads hospital.

He is now at John Flynn Hospital where he is reported to be sitting up and talking.

It is believed he had a heart attack in the water.

"All our planning and preparation for this event paid off with saving this man's life," Neil said.

"This rescue proceeded like clockwork. It's great to see the training and practice pays off like this."

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