Daring rescue of ladies from rip current in St Francis

Two ladies being dragged out to sea in a strong rip current at St Francis Bay yesterday were rescued by members of Woodridge Surf Lifesaving Club’s ‘C’ Squad.

The lifesaving squad on patrol duty at Main Beach performed a rescue in dangerous seas  – at the same spot where two men have lost their lives in the last three months.

Conditions yesterday were extremely dangerous, especially on the low tide, with a large swell and strong rips created by the easterly winds of the past week.  Gullies parallel to the shore fed wash to a strong rip, directly in front of the ablution block.

The two ladies, visitors to St Francis, had gone for an early morning swim in the sea. They soon found themselves in dire straits.

Responding immediately to their plight the squad lifesavers, using rescue boards and rescue torpedo buoys, swam out and secured the women.  After the lifesavers calmed them down, they were safely brought through the surf and returned to the beach.

In a letter of thanks to the patrol squad, the rescued ladies expressed their gratitude for the professional and competent manner in which they were assisted by the Woodridge lifeguards.  Squad Leader, Shannon Bailey, was commended on her expert management of the rescue.  Locals Stephanie Spowart and Grant Fox were also involved, as was Gina Gauna, Jason Le Roux and Club Captain, Oelof Voster.

Woodridge Surf Lifesaving Club’s ‘C’ Squad Back (L-R): Sam Kingwill, Conrad Reynolds, Oelof Vorster, Danyon Le Roux, Andrew Fox, Grant Fox, Keane Hansen. Front (L-R): Shannon Bailey, Stephanie Spowart, Sebastian Barrett, Kirsten Russell, Gina Gauna

Two lives have been lost in this exact spot in the past three months when the beach was not patrolled. The beach must be viewed by the bathing public with extreme caution, observers say.

Woodridge Surf Lifesaving Club Chairman, Rob Smith, urgently appeals to the Kouga Council to erect warning signs, which should include information about the dangers and when lifeguards are on duty.  Woodridge Surf also wishes to thank the NSRI Station 21 volunteers for their prompt response and assistance.

The Woodridge Surf Lifesaving Club performs voluntary beach patrol at Main Beach from 9 am – 5 pm each Sunday in the months of November, and January – March each year.  This is the second season that Woodridge SLC has patrolled this beach.

Should any member of the public or organisation wish to have more information about this beach, or require assistance with water-based activities, please do not hesitate to contact Rob Smith on 084 545 4089.

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