Keira MP Ryan Park has thanked the emergency services and volunteer surf lifesavers for their efforts in trying to find and save four people whose boat had capsized in Bulli waters during the June long weekend.
Mr Park praised all those involved, including the Bulli, Thirroul, Coledale, Woonona, Austinmer, Sandon Point, Bellambi, Coalcliff, Windang and Helensburgh/Stanwell Park surf life saving clubs during a speech in Parliament earlier this month.
Four people, including a five year-old boy, were heard screaming from the water on the evening of June 7, sparking one of the largest search and rescue operations undertaken by Surf Life Saving Illawarra in many years.
Two men were winched to safety but tragically the body of five-year-old boy and 28-year-old Saadallah El Kourouche were found the next day.
Mr Park and his 5-year-old son went to the scene on Sunday morning. He said it was incredibly hard to hear a child had gone missing, presumed dead.
"It doesn't matter what happened," Mr Park said. "People say, 'they shouldn't have been out there' or 'they should have done this'. Maybe that is the case.
"The bottom line is, two people lost their lives in a part of the world I love, in an ocean we have all swam in. But the ocean can be ruthless at times and completely lacking forgiveness.
"I pay my respects to the families involved."
Mr Park especially wanted to thank Bulli surf lifesaving club president Keith Caldwell as well as Jamie Caldwell, Lachlan O'Grady and two duty officers Anthony Turner and Lachlan Pritchard who co-ordinated the search.
"Two people were successfully pulled from water. But this is a tragedy beyond anything most of us can imagine," he said.
"I am very, very proud of our local surf lifesaving clubs, the volunteers and emergency services."
Mr Park praised the actions of Bulli club volunteers who provided comfort, warmth, privacy and support to the distraught families involved.
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