RESCUE: 'This lady could...quite easily have drowned'

Three Ballina RSL staff members immediately jumped into action and rescued a lady from the river last Monday night.
Three Ballina RSL staff members immediately jumped into action and rescued a lady from the river last Monday night.

THREE Ballina RSL staff members are being praised after they jumped into action and rescued a woman from drowning in the Richmond River last Monday night, March 5.

Staff were alerted to the situation after a lady came to reception at around 10pm saying she heard a woman calling out for help outside.

Ballina RSL's Chief of Operations Marisa Poptie said Jared, Mark and Steve with the assistance of Sharyn went out immediately in the rain and pitch black sky to come to the woman's aid.

"One of the staff jumped in to help her, she had been in the water for about 15 minutes and they were able to save her," Ms Poptie said.

"She was very tired and obviously cold and in shock.

"Staff were able to stay with her until the police had arrived and the ambulance to come and help her."

Of the four staff that aided the struggling woman, two had their first aid certificates.

"Jared - who jumped in - he was ready to go in boots and all, Sharyn told him to make sure he took his wallet out and his phone and what not before he got in."

Ms Poptie said they were lucky to find her when they did.

"They thought she was towards the western end of the board-walk, but they found her calling from the eastern end.

"She was in the water for 15 minutes, she did pretty well for maintaining herself."

Ms Poptie's Facebook post on the RSL page has since received many comments from locals calling for council to light this area.

Lynne McKee commented: "Thank you so much for the rescue of this lady but we need to look at better lighting and possibly a hand rail along this particular part of the walk way.

"The weather was terrible on Monday evening and the area near the CWA Rooms was quarantined off limiting walking around this area.

"This lady could have quite easily have drowned if she hadn't been heard by some staff and walkers by. Ballina Council need to address this as a matter of urgency," Ms McKee wrote.

However in the 10 years Ms Poptie has been at the RSL she said she has never seen anything like this happen.

"The boardwalk is a council asset now... they are doing that renovation in the park, beautifying the park at the moment so there is construction works going on in that area as well," Ms Poptie said,

Topics:  ballina rsl editors picks northern rivers emergency richmond river water rescue

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