A regular after school surf for 14-year-old Kael Harris turned into a race against the clock to save two swimmers at Town Beach on February 14.
Just after 6pm, the swimmers, in town for the Junior State Cup, got into trouble after deciding to cool off in the surf. Kael said it was "lucky" he was in the right place at the right time to help.
“I love going to the beach and most days after school, I come down with my friends,” Kael said.
“The rip near the breakwall is pretty notorious for sucking swimmers out and with the super strong run out tide yesterday it was even worse.
“I was out with my friends and my (teacher) Ms Hudson just happened to be at the breakwall and called me to help.”
Kael is currently in year 9 at Hastings Secondary College's Port Macquarie Campus. He said it was a scary moment trying to save the duo.
“While I was out we saw the guy swim and get into trouble. Ms Hudson was yelling at him to swim across the rip, which he did,” he said.
“The guy almost got back to his friends after listening to Ms Hudson and then he, and another girl, got sucked straight back out. It was at that point I raced to help because I knew they were in a lot of trouble.
“They were stuck on the outside of the wall with rocks in front of them and the waves crashing in. I got the girl and used my board and together we kicked away and got out of the rip.
“I don’t know what happened to the guy. He was so exhausted, so adrenaline must have kicked in and he rushed to scramble up the rocks.
“He was cut pretty badly but he was okay and we got back to the sand safely.”
Tori Hudson, a teacher at Kael’s school, said if Kael wasn’t in the water at the right time the outcome would have been very different.
“Kael pretty much saved their lives,” Ms Hudson said.
“Clearly they were not from here and just didn’t know the risks of swimming at that part of the beach.
“Unfortunately the lifeguards had gone home, but I think they need permanent signage to warn people who come to the beach about the dangers.
“I’m glad Kael was in the water and was able to help them.”
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