A series of dramatic pictures have shown the moment a woman’s life was saved after being swallowed up by huge swell battering the coast of Sydney.
The powerful images show the ordeal from beginning to end as the female swimmer begins to struggle in the huge swell at Bronte Beach in Sydney’s east on Thursday morning.
Surf lifesaver Andrew Reid, who helped save the swimmer, told Daily Mail Australia she was extremely lucky, with a number of factors contributing to her rescue.
‘I had just walked in at 6.55am and a fellow lifeguard turned up because we start at 7am,’ he said.
A series of dramatic pictures have shown the moment a woman was just moments from death after being being swallowed up by huge swell battering the New South Wales coast
The powerful images show the ordeal from beginning to end as the female swimmer clearly begins to struggle in the huge swell at Bronte Beach in Sydney’s east on Thursday morning
‘We were actually just looking out and checking the conditions to see how we would set up the beach and a massive set rolled in and I I actually joked I wouldn’t want to be out in that today.’
It was at this moment that the struggling swimmer was noticed in the surf.
‘I started running down and saw she was in a precarious spot copping 10ft sets, she looked tiny and all I could think was how did she get out there.’
Mr Reid said as he made his way towards the rocks other lifeguards were making their way towards the swimmer.
‘The most direct route was the rocks but as I got closer she was further away,’ he said.
One of the other lifeguards, Troy Stewart, used the rip to get to the swimmer, which Mr Reid said proved to be the quicker route.
The astonishing images show Mr Stewart as he reaches the swimmer right as she begins to sink under the surface of the water.
‘I’ve seen a lot of people drown and I can say I think she was going under for the last time,’ Mr Reid said.
‘But then Troy got to her and pulled her up, it was amazing to see.’
The swimmer is dwarfed by the swell as it continues to roll in and batter her all while she is trying to get the attention of the life guards
Life guards are then pictured making their way out to the woman, having to swim parallel to her before making contact
Mr Reid said the swimmer was screaming and in quite a bad way as his colleague got her above the water line.
Another life guard, Anthony Carroll, was at the club house participating in a Pilates class when he raced to the rescue, and he even made a separate rescue on his way out.
‘A guy had actually jumped from the pool and tried to help but then he ended up getting into trouble too,’ Mr Reid said.
As Mr Carroll made his way out he noticed the second rescue attempt going on, found the first man, rescued him and then raced to the struggling swimmer.
‘She is a very lucky lady,’ Mr Reid said.
‘She had two of the country’s best surf swimmers at the beach this morning, Troy Stewart and Wally Eggleton.’
Both men are decorated surf swimmers.
Mr Reid said each lifeguard took a different route to ensure at least one of them was able to reach the woman in time.
‘In her defence she probably swims there every day but the ocean is a treacherous thing,’ Reid said.
Once the swimmer was safe on dry land, Mr Reid said he was worried she still had salt water in her lungs which would need to be dealt with at a hospital.
‘It’s known as secondary drowning,’ Reid said.
‘People actually inhale salt water when they drown and if there is any left in the lungs they could actually drown in their sleep, so you need to go to the hospital to get it cleared.’
The first life guard gets to the woman at the last possible moment as it appears she is about to go under the waves for the final time
Luckily he gets ot her in time an dis able to get her head above water until a third life guard arrives with a paddle board
He said the woman was extremely grateful once she had been rescued.
‘She expressed so much gratitude’, he said.
‘I carried her up the beach and she was saying ‘thank you so much’ I believe she truly through she was going to die out there.’
‘She gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.’
Mr Reid was humble for himself and his colleagues despite their heroics.
‘I’m a very small cog in that wheel today but great effort gets great results,’ he said.
He also praised the whole surf community of Bronte.’
Thankfully the life guards were just starting their shift as the incident happened at 7am right as they clocked on
Once they reach the shore the sheer exhaustion of fighting a wild sea is obvious as the woman collapses under her own weight, being caught by life guards and witnesses
As the woman is held up it looks like she is taking in a deep breath while trying to regain her composure