Sharks and blue bottles kept the Illawarra’s surf lifesavers on their toes on Sunday, causing at least two of the region’s beaches to close temporarily.
Swimmers at Port Kembla Beach were ushered to shore after a hammerhead shark was spotted about 2.30pm by the Bendigo Bank Aerial Patrol.
Lifesavers took to jet skis and inflatable rescue boats (IRBs) to drive the animal back to sea as beachgoers watched on from the safety of the sand.
The beach was reopened 30 minutes later after another sweep by the aerial patrol, however lifesavers on long boards continued to keep guard behind the waves.
Lifesavers were first put on high alert just after 10am as three large schools of bait fish were spotted off Port Kembla and Windang.
About 12.40am two hammerhead sharks were spotted 500m off Windang Beach, about 2km from the flags at Port Kembla.
A surf lifesaver took to the water on a jet ski to scare the animals back out to sea.
Blue bottles were again a major headache for swimmers off the Illawarra coastline yesterday, particularly the region’s north.
Ambulance paramedics were called to treat a number of patients who had suffered bad reactions to the jellyfish stings throughout the day.
Two patients, a 44-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy, were treated for shock by paramedics after suffering stings at Bulli about 10am.
A further three patients were treated at Stanwell Park just before 12pm.
Bellambi Beach was closed at 3.20pm due to the large numbers of blue bottles causing misery for swimmers trying to cool off.
Reports of a missing diver off Shell Cove had emergency crews rushing to the scene about 11.20am., which ended abruptly when searchers determined the incident had been a false alarm.
The Rescue 26 ambulance helicopter, surf lifesavers, police and Marine Rescue rushed to Bass Point following calls of a diver missing in the water 500m off the gravel loader.
An extensive air and water search followed and police spoke to a number of dive groups in the area, finding all members accounted for.
Two teenagers were also treated for suspected spinal injuries at the region’s beaches.
A 19-year-old man was taken to Wollongong Hospital after suffering an injury at Woonona Beach at 1.20pm, while a 17-year-old girl earlier suffered a suspected spinal injury at Bulli.