HELP Written In Sand Saves Solo Surfer Badly Injured At Remote Auckland Beach
A surfer badly injured at a remote West Auckland beach has been rescued by surf lifeguards after he wrote HELP in the sand.
A member of the public on a walking track called the United North Piha Surf Club around 3:30pm today after spotting the man writing the message in the sand at Mercer Bay before collapsing.
A Surf Life Saving Rescue Jetski was sent from Piha with two lifeguards and first aid equipment to conduct a search.
On arrival the lifeguards located the surfer and realized he had serious injuries. He had been surfing at neighbouring Karekare beach since 10:30am but lost his board in the large surf and was swept onto rocks. Unable to walk out via the tracks and after two hours of persisting, the man had in desperation written his message in the sand hoping someone would see it.
Lifeguards provided emergency first aid before transporting the man back to Piha, where an ambulance had been organised to meet them at the surf club and later transported him to hospital.
Around 5pm the man’s wife reported him missing to Police after growing concerned at not having heard from him. Surf Life Saving’s Rescue Communications Centre SurfCom was able to confirm that the patient the lifeguards were treating was the missing person and the news conveyed to his family.
Search and Rescue supervisor John-Michael Swannix says the man was very lucky.
“The message in the sand is not visible from the walking tracks at the northern end of Mercer Bay, so it was very lucky the informant and her friend were at the southern end and able to see it.”
“With Auckland in Alert Level 3, not as many people are out and about at the moment so it’s also lucky someone was walking the track at that time.”
Swannix said with COVID alert levels going back to Level 2 people should always go surfing or swimming with someone else.
“It just means there is someone there to look out for you or to get help if something does go wrong.”
“We have 17 Emergency Callout Squads from Ahipara down to Raglan who are available 24/7 to respond to incidents like this. If someone is in trouble, people just need to call 111 and ask Police for the surf lifeguards.”
Weekday patrols at Ōrewa, Bethells, North Piha and Raglan wrap up at the end of this week, with daily patrols at Muriwai and Piha continuing until the first week of March.