Surf lifesavers win award

The ''exceptional'' actions of St Clair Surf Life Saving Club members in reviving a 72-year-old man last month have been recognised by the national surf lifesaving body, with the club given the rescue of the month award.

Head coach James Coombes said the rescue took place about 6pm on November 14 when a man running along the beach collapsed after having a heart attack near the clubhouse.

Eleven club members, who were training nearby, then stepped in and carried out CPR and used a defibrillator and oxygen, spending a total of about 20 minutes with the man before St John ambulance officers arrived. The actions of the club members throughout was ''exceptional'', he said.

The rescue was judged as being the best in country for November and the winter months by Surf Life Saving New Zealand's national lifesaving committee, beating rescues carried out in Piha and Mount Maunganui.

Mr Coombes said receiving the award was a ''silver lining'' to what was an unfortunate outcome, with the man dying after he was taken to hospital.

''The end result left a little bit of an empty feeling, but I think it's important, especially for the young ones, that their skills are recognised.''

The award was a ''point of pride'' for the club and showed beachgoers they would be in good hands when they came to St Clair Beach during the busy summer months.

In his citation, Mr Coombes wrote: ''All lifeguards involved demonstrated a high skill level, from the initial assessment of the incident and determining immediately the severity of the situation to the administration of the oxygen and defibrillator.''

The club members involved in the rescue were: Mr Coombes, Joel Davies, Carina Doyle, Adam Harvey, Arthur Ibbotson, Angus Mackenzie, Georgia Manera, James Rolfe, Jessie Schneiders, Heather Thompson and Ossian Woods.

For winning the award, the club will receive a framed citation to hang on its clubroom wall and a $100 fuel voucher.

-vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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