Kiama lifeguards have praised bystanders for coming to the aid of an American tourist on Saturday afternoon.
The man believed to be in his early 30s was walking with his girlfriend near the popular Cathedral Rocks when he slipped behind them, plunging into the ocean around 3.15pm.
One member of the public rushed to the man’s aid and threw a life-ring down for him to cling onto. The victim’s partner ran all the way back to Bombo Beach to alert lifeguards, who sent help via a jetski.
Lifeguard supervisor for Kiama Council Andy Mole said it was their “quick thinking” that luckily stopped a tragedy from occurring.
He said unfortunately the festive season meant an increase of dramas for tourists as they are not familiar with the region’s coastline.
Mr Mole said there were no major injuries to the victim, though he had “taken on a lot of water” so was transported to hospital for observation.
It comes after a middle-aged man was found lying unconscious in the sand dunes at Wombarra Beach around 2.30pm. An empty bottle of vodka was found next to the victim.
The intensive care unit and rescue helicopter were called as the man suffered a fit.
NSW Ambulance Illawarra district officer Inspector Terry Morrow said it was likely his intoxication was the cause of the fit due to severe dehydration.