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Top Surf Life Saving award for Piha Mass Rescue

Media Release
25 September 2006
For Immediate Use

Climatech Regional Lifeguards take out New Zealand’s top Surf Life Saving award for Piha Mass Rescue

On Friday night, 22 September 2006, Surf Life Saving New Zealand held the annual BP Surf Rescue Awards in Wellington. The awards were an opportunity to celebrate twelve months of achievement in Surf Life Saving throughout the country.

This year one of the top awards, BP Surf Rescue of the Year, was awarded to the Surf Life Saving Northern Region Climatech Regional Lifeguards for the 10 January 2006 mass rescue of seven swimmers at Piha Beach.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award” said Surf Life Saving Northern Region Chief Executive Officer Steve Johns.

“It’s a real credit to the team based at Piha that day to have Surf Life Saving New Zealand recognise their hard work, passion and bravery. It’s also a huge credit to the wider team that work for Surf Life Saving Northern Region in lifesaving, training, development and education”.

Geoff Barry, Chief Executive Officer of Surf Life Saving New Zealand, echoed this sentiment.

“The actions of the lifeguards on duty were exceptional; they showed complete professionalism in an extremely stressful situation. The procedures they followed certainly prevented multiple tragedies at Piha that day,” said Mr Barry.

The mass rescue was captured by camera and aired on television as part of Piha Rescue earlier this year. Grant Dover, the swimmer who was found face down in the water and revived by the lifeguards presented the lifeguards with their award for BP Surf Rescue of the Year.


The following Climatech Regional Lifeguards were awarded rescue of the year:

Brent Airey, David Butt, Anthony Clarke, Duncan Clarke, Brendan Evans, Daniel Lacy, Luke Mcbride, Jesse Pidgeon, Jamie Piggins, Russell Scoones, Cameron Sharpe, William Thompson and Andrew Webber


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2006 BP SURF RESCUE OF THE YEAR

CLIMATECH REGIONAL LIFEGUARD SERVICE


BRENT AIREY~ DAVID BUTT~ ANTHONY CLARKE ~ DUNCAN CLARKE~ BRENDAN EVANS~ DANIEL LACY~ LUKE MCBRIDE~ JESSE PIDGEON~ JAMIE PIGGINS ~ RUSSELL SCOONES ~ CAMERON SHARPE ~ WILLIAM THOMPSON~ ANDREW WEBBER


On January 10 2006 Climatech Regional lifeguard’s patrolling South Piha Beach were managing a large crowd of 120 swimmers on a very hot and sunny day. Surf conditions were four meters and lifeguards were kept busy keeping people between the flags using IRB’s and lifeguards swimming with rescue tubes.

At midday lifeguards spotted a surfer in difficulty and went to his aid. As they were attending to him the largest surf of the day swept through the flagged area and pulled seven swimmers out of the flags and into a rip near Lion Rock. All seven swimmers were pulled around the front of Lion Rock, becoming exposed to the massive ocean swells.

The lifeguards launched three IRB’s to the scene and made contact with SurfCom (radio base) to dispatch the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

While the IRB’s went out to Lion Rock, Patrol Captain Duncan Clarke closed the flagged area of the beach, encouraging people to stay out of the water and remain safe.

On approaching Lion Rock the lifeguards were confronted with large crashing surf and seven swimmers in various locations and states of distress, many of them were being thrown against the rocks.

Discovering one of the swimmers face down in the water, an IRB crew picked him up and returned him to the beach. Resuscitation commenced and after some time the patient was thankfully revived and taken by Westpac Rescue Helicopter to hospital where he made a full recovery.

All of the swimmers were retrieved from the surf and safely brought back to the beach. The fact that the lifeguards managed to keep over 1,000 beach goers safe and out of the water while the rescue was happening was testament to their management skills and forward thinking.

Geoff Barry, CEO of Surf Life Saving New Zealand commended the group “The actions of the lifeguards on duty were exceptional; they showed complete professionalism in an extremely stressful situation. Their quick actions and the procedures they followed certainly prevented multiple tragedies at Piha that day.”

Mr Jonathan Wake of BP New Zealand, long term sponsor of Surf Life Saving New Zealand presented this Award at the 2006 BP Surf Rescue Awards held in Wellington on 22nd September 2006. The swimmer who was found face down and later hospitalised, Mr Grant Dover was also present at the awards.

The incident was captured by camera and aired on television as part of Piha Rescue.

1,810 lives were saved in the 2005/06 season by the heroic actions of Surf Lifeguards throughout New Zealand.
The efforts of these lifeguards earned them the 2006 BP Surf Rescue of the year.

ENDS

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