Four ambulance crews and a helicopter were called to MM beach at Port Kembla on Wednesday afternoon after reports of swimmers in distress.
Four swimmers were attended to by crews on site with one in significant distress after being swept out by a rip.
Bystanders assisted with the rescue, averting what could have otherwise been a tragic note on Australia Day.
Reports included that a young girl had ingested water and was treated at the site before further assessment. Two swimmers were transported to Wollongong hospital in a stable condition.
Surf Life savers from Port Kembla and Windang assisted with the rescue, with a jetski and all terrain vehicle deployed to the beach.
The rescue comes after multiple warnings from Surf Life Saving NSW as well as NSW state government authorities ahead of the Australia Day holiday, with one fifth of all rescues during the holiday period in 2021 occurring on Australia Day.
Anthony Turner from Surf Life Saving Illawarra said that with locals and visitors heading to the beach this Australia Day and enjoying the warm conditions, many were not swimming between the flags.
Hot spots included at Woonona, Puckeys, Thirroul and Port Kembla, with crowds on some beaches into the thousands.
Minor rescues had already been carried out at Sandon Point and the district's three drones and five jetskis were conducting proactive exercises to shepherd swimmers back between the flags.
Turner reminded swimmers to be mindful of their abilities in the swell and for parents to keep an eye on children in the water.
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