Kiama Blowhole idiots risk lives

Three men ignore safety barriers and risk their lives climbing down into Kiama blowhole on Saturday.
Three men ignore safety barriers and risk their lives climbing down into Kiama blowhole on Saturday.

Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler has slammed three "stupid" men who climbed deep down into the Kiama Blowhole on Saturday.

A Gerringong resident, who gave his name as Craig, supplied the Mercury with photos he took at the site on Saturday afternoon, showing three men well beyond the guard rail around the tourist attraction.

In one photo, the older man is less than 10 metres from the mouth of the blowhole, walking on rocks slippery from ocean spray, while the younger men appear engrossed in their phones not watching the water.

"There was a big south-easterly wind blowing, and the blowhole was going pretty well," Craig said.

"The older man got saturated with water from the spray, he was only about five metres away from the hole at one point."

Cr Petschler was scathing in his rebuke of the men's actions.

"It is very irresponsible, and I deplore that foolhardy activity," he said.

"Whole families have drowned in that area. Even on a quiet day, it is extremely dangerous to go beyond the fence."

Cr Petschler said he was reminded of the 1992 tragedy when seven people were swept off rocks near the blowhole and drowned.

He said after that incident, council erected warning signs and fencing around the blowhole area to stop people entering dangerous parts of the rock shelf.

"I'm not sure what else we can do, we can't fence off the entire coastline of Australia," he said.

"You can't stop stupidity."

The rock shelf around the blowhole is notoriously dangerous, regularly sweeping fishermen into the surf. Rhys Dawson, emergency co-ordinator for Kiama Surf Life Saving Club and duty officer for Surf Life Saving NSW's South Coast branch, said the men risked their own lives and the lives of potential rescuers.

"The current around the blowhole is extremely strong, and it would be extremely dangerous and difficult to rescue someone from the blowhole," he said.

"The rocks in the lower part of the blowhole are also extremely slippery as algae does grow down there."

Cr Petschler said he strongly discouraged anyone from trying to climb down to the blowhole mouth, saying it was an unpredictable area.

"You just never know what can happen with the ocean," he said.

"You can't ever turn your back."


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