THE operation to safely extricate two teenagers trapped in a notorious sea cave at Snapper Point on a rising tide has won Surf Life Saving’s prestigious National Rescue of the Month Award for September.
Central Coast support operations team members Brianna Coyte (Towoon Bay SLSC), Sean Leister (The Lakes SLSC), and fellow Lakes members Anthony Smith and Gavin Brown travelled to Canberra this week to receive the award.
It is the second national award that the Central Coast support operations team have received in 2018. They previously took out the award in June after responding to another incident at Snapper Point.
On Saturday, September 15, Central Coast duty officers David Sneddon, Glen Clarke, and Josh Cole received a call at around noon alerting them to two teenagers stranded in the cave.
The incident prompted a multi-agency response with police, and Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter joining volunteer surf lifesavers.
A rising tide meant that escape was impossible for the swimmers and it was decided that a jetski and inflatable rescue boat (IRB) were the best assets to attempt a rescue.
The craft were quickly launched at The Lakes surf club.
The jetski driven by Sean Leicester dropped Brianna Coyte at the entrance to swim into the cave and assist the female patient to swim out to the jetski safely.
She then returned to the cave to rescue the young male.
Both patients were transferred to the IRB crewed by The Lakes members Anthony Smith and Gavin Brown and taken to Fraser Park Beach.
They were unharmed.
“The rescue itself was surreal. The swimmers had been trapped for so long, people had gathered, and it was very intense,” Ms Coyte said.
“In the immediate aftermath of the rescue, what really hit home for me was that two kids were going home safely to their parents because of us. I am a bit embarrassed about all the attention but very proud to have played my part in what was a very technical but ultimately flawless team rescue."