Several lifeguards at Kariaotahi Surf Lifesaving club have been recognised for their efforts by receiving Rescue of the Month.
Shortly before 6pm on 30 January, as the gear was being put away after an action-packed patrol, lifeguards were alerted to a patient struggling in the hole off the south end of the stream at Karioitahi Beach. Guy Hornblow and Bradley Walters grabbed an IRB and Erik Yorston drove them down to the stream where Guy spotted a girl unconscious in the shallows. She had been assisted to shore by a member of the public.
She was pulled from the water and placed in the recovery position. The oxygen kit was set up and her vitals were checked and oxygen given. Lifeguard and Paramedic Craig Wizsneski was leaving the beach when he saw the IRB taking off. He quickly arrived on scene and took over the on-scene command. The patient was drifting in and out of consciousness and was now in the care of lifeguards Rick Schreuder and Dawn Newsom-Adams. Tara Coe took over the role of Patrol Captain and called SurfCom to request an ambulance.
While trying to find the informant, who had been in the water with the patient, Guy and Bradley were alerted to the possibility of another two patients still in the water. As Bradley got the IRB in the water, Guy grouped all beachgoers into families so they could narrow down who was missing.
A team of lifeguards were assembled for a land based search and they went car to car making sure everyone was accounted for. Meanwhile, swimmers were evacuated from the water and Tara made the decision to close the beach. The recovered patient was becoming unresponsive. She was going in and out of consciousness as she went into the ambulance and the paramedic crew took over her care.
Bradley and Guy did one final sweep of the water inside the bar and confirmed that there were no persons in the water. With the carpark sweep completed, they found the informant and the two people that were swimming at the same time safe on land. As the patient was being cared for in the ambulance, Craig was approached by another swimmer who had been vomiting up water and foam. She was complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing and he assessed her as a Status 3 patient. Craig sent her up to Rick in the first aid room of the club house for observation and Tara alerted SurfCom of the need for another ambulance.
As the lifeguards packed up gear from the first incident, a member of the public alerted them to a head on motorcycle crash. Jim Coe, Craig, Bradley and Guy took a vehicle with first aid equipment on board to assess the situation. There were two patients involved in the crash and Guy gave the first patient the all clear. Craig and Jim assessed the second patient who had been knocked out for around three minutes before she came around. Tara advised SurfCom of the incident unfolding and requested another ambulance.
The patient had a suspected spinal and pelvic injuries, along with neck and facial bruising and a compound fracture on her lower left leg. She was transported into the first aid room at the club and monitored until the ambulance arrived.
It was a massive afternoon with three newly qualified lifeguards involved. They handled the situations that unfolded very professionally and covered all areas of self-preservation and patient care before entering each incident. If it wasn’t for the lifeguards’ immediate care, it is likely there would have been one or more fatalities that day.
Karioatahi Surf Lifesaving President Jim Coe says the recognition for this rescue was a “great reward” for their top quality volunteers. “It recognises their skills and abilities.”
Lifeguards involved were: Tara Coe (PC), Guy Hornblow, Bradley Walters, Jim Coe, Kade Browne, Flynn Clapp, Rick Schreuder, Erik Yorston, Craig Wizsneski, Ryan Da Re Carazo, Leanni Browne, Caitlin Browne, Petra Hornblow, Oscar Crane, Jake Featherstone, Kate Newson-Adams, Lochlan Matheson, Dawn Newson Adams (Patrol Support), Ray Newson (Patrol Support), Lindsay Hill (SurfCom) and Mackenzie Cook (SurfCom).