Two surfers jumped into the water at Stanwell Park to rescue a woman - and then had to be saved themselves.
Canadian student Melissa Engdahl had gone into the water with her surfboard at 5.20pm but soon found herself in trouble and unable to return to the beach.
"The waves and the wind pushed me south towards the rocks at the bottom of the cliff," she said. "I just could not get back. I was heading for the rocks."
Brad King and John Boyle paddled out to her aid but then couldn't bring her back to shore.
"We had no option, but to go for the rocks," Mr Boyle said.
They were stranded on the rock ledge until the arrival of the rescue helicopter.
The helicopter airlifted the trio off the rocks one by one, lowering them into the backyard of a clifftop home.
Fortunately none of them required hospitalisation for any injuries.
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