Paramedics on the scene at South Ballina.
Paramedics on the scene at South Ballina.

Tragic drowning at South Ballina

A Sydney couple has drowned after getting caught in a strong rip at South Ballina beach on Tuesday night.

The couple and their three children were staying at a South Ballina caravan park, and according to police, the 44-year -old woman went for a swim around 7pm.

When she got into difficulty her 42-year-old husband went to rescue her, but neither was able to make it back to shore.

One of their daughters called 000 from her mobile phone while her brother ran to the caravan park to get help.

Caravan park residents were able to get the man to shore but despite efforts to resuscitate him, he died at the scene. The woman was later pulled from the water and transferred to the beach, where attempts by paramedics to revive her were unsuccessful.

The three children, two girls aged 17 and 14 and a nine-year-old boy, were taken to Ballina Hospital where they were treated for shock and are now in the care of relatives.

Ballina Jet Boat captain Garry Meredith said it was a particularly sad operation to be involved in because of the children.

He urged people to swim in populated areas and his advice to anyone who is caught in a rip is, “don’t panic, stay afloat and preserve your energy”.

“If you panic and try to swim against it, that’s when you get tired and get into trouble. Try to relax and go with the rip.

“If you are a competent swimmer and have got the energy, swim across the rip and make your way to shore, otherwise go with it and in 99.9% of cases somebody will see you are in difficulty and call emergency services, and they are not far away,” he said.


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