A man has been rushed to hospital after he was pulled unconscious from the ocean at Bulli.
The man was floating face-down for up to 10 minutes before he was noticed by fellow beach-goers and pulled onto the sands of Shark Bay, between Bulli Beach and Sandon Point, about 11.15am Saturday.
A rescue chopper landed at Bulli Park, opposite the beach. Emergency services spent at least 20 minutes working on him.
He was ultimately lifted into an ambulance and transported to Wollongong Hospital.
The man is believed aged in his 30s. He was swimming alone.
Jason Foye, beach services coordinator at Wollongong City Council, said the man was swimming in unpatrolled, but calm waters when he got into trouble.
It is unclear if he suffered a medical episode.
“It’s really quite calm and safe conditions today – we don’t have any significant swell and that section of the coast is quite sheltered,” he said.
“It’s a timely reminder for people just to take that extra time and head down to the patrolled areas.”
The man’s prognosis remains unknown. NSW Ambulance have been contacted.
Statement from Surf Lifesaving NSW
A man has been transported to hospital in a critical condition after being pulled unconscious from the water at Sandon Point in the Illawarra on Saturday morning.
The man who is understood to be visiting the area from Western Sydney was seen swimming at the northern end of the beach approximately 800 metres away from the flagged patrol area shortly before midday.
About ten minutes later, he was located unconscious and unresponsive by a member of the public. They were able to pull him onto the beach and commence CPR treatment.
A second passerby went to alert volunteer surf lifesavers and lifeguards who were on duty on the beach.
The rescue personnel then took over CPR treatment administering oxygen and applying a defibrillator for over ten minutes before handing the man over to the care of paramedics when they arrived.
Once he was stabilised he was then transported to hospital for further treatment.
Additionally an Illawarra Duty Officer was tasked to attend the scene to provide operational support as required and will later debrief the volunteers.
Surf Life Saving CEO Steven Pearce praised the professionalism of the first responders, but said the incident highlights just how important it is to swim not only at a patrolled location but within the vicinity of the lifesavers or lifeguards.
“The members of the public, lifesavers, and lifeguards all did a fantastic job under very challenging circumstances to react to this situation and perform CPR until the paramedics were able to transport the patient to hospital,” said Mr Pearce.
“With the hot weather our volunteers are on alert for an extremely busy period on our beaches, and we want to ensure that the public are hearing our messages and taking them seriously.
“Please help us help you by swimming at a patrolled location, be aware of your environment and practicing good sun safety habits such as wearing sunscreen, staying hydrated and immediately seeking help if you feel unwell,” he concluded.
It is not clear whether the man suffered a medical episode while in the water, though conditions at the time have been described as ideal for swimming with very little swell or wind.
Beach safety tips
- Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website
- Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information
- Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm
- In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police
- Don’t forget to be sun safe by remembering to: Slip on some protective clothing, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Slide on a pair of sunglasses, Seek some shade and Sip on lots of water to stay hydrated.
- For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.