It'll look like all hell has let loose on Woonona Beach on Saturday morning (May 6, 2023) as a mass rescue training exercise gets underway.
Drones will be in the air, alongside the Westpac Life Saver 21 Helicopter during the search and rescue exercise (SAREX).
The exercise will start around 7am and will involve members of Surf Life Saving Illawarra, Wollongong City Council lifeguards, Marine Rescue Port Kembla, NSW Ambulance and NSW SES.
Marine Rescue NSW Illawarra Duty Operations Manager Stuart Massey said Marine Rescue looks forward to working alongside other emergency services.
"It's essential these exercises take place to practice for the worst possible scenario of people missing in the water," he said.
"These exercises allow us to work out best practice in a controlled environment.
"Things like communication between agencies and on scene control are vital when emergencies happen for real.
"If you see a lot of activity on Saturday morning, don't worry it's just an exercise but be assured that in the event of a real emergency our rescue craft and crews are ready to respond in the manner that the people of the Illawarra not only expect but also deserve," Mr Massey said.
The main action is expected to take place in and around Woonona Rock Pool, Bulli and Woonona Beaches, continuing until 10.45am.
A number of life size mannequins will be used in the search and rescue area including ocean dye packs to assist crews to determine ocean current direction while searching for missing persons in the water.
The Westpac Lifesaver 21 Rescue Helicopter will be landing on the grass reserve near Collins Point to the west of the car park. Lifesavers will provide a safe landing area for the crew and public around 10am.
The helicopter crew will provide a talk to emergency service crews on the familiarisation and safe working around a helicopter in search and rescue operations including communications skills between crews on the scene.
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