A Gold Coast man receives treatment  in an ambulance on Saturday after he and a friend were caught in a rip.
A Gold Coast man receives treatment in an ambulance on Saturday after he and a friend were caught in a rip.

Near tragedy at Pottsville

By Ed Southorn

Two Gold Coast men are lucky to be alive after nearly drowning while trying to retrieve a ball from a rip at Pottsville on Saturday.

The men, aged 34 and 36 from Oxenford and Arundel, were at Pottsville Beach around 1pm when they got into serious trouble, Tweed Heads Police said.

A child's ball was swept away in the water and the two men were soon struggling against the rip current as they tried to retrieve it, not too far from the creek mouth.

The beach, known by locals for its sometimes dangerous conditions, was not patrolled by life savers. The Cabarita Beach Surf Life Saving Club patrols at Pottsville do not extend beyond the Christmas holiday period.

The two men who managed to make their way back towards the shore, were helped from the water and required treatment from ambulance officers who had been called to the incident.

Three ambulances from Kingscliff and Tweed Heads attended, a NSW Ambulance spokesman said. One of the ambulances was a four-wheel- drive vehicle used for off-road emergencies.

The two men had water in their lungs and after treatment at the scene were taken to Tweed Hospital for observation.

Cabarita Beach Surf Life Saving Club captain Nick Brabham said beachgoers should always try to swim between the flags.

But if people had to go into unpatrolled waters, they should always check for rips and never swim alone.

n Meanwhile, Brisbane student Alex Short didn't even get wet, but still managed to find himself in painful trouble while fishing nearby in Mooball Creek.

Alex accidentally dug a fish hook into his finger when trying to throw away his hand line in a fit of anger after failing to catch a single fish.

He was taken to the Pottsville home of Tweed Rescue squad driver Mo Sullivan, who cut the end off the hook and slid it out of Alex's flesh.

Mo Sullivan said he had arrived to help with the beach emergency involving the two men when Alex Short turned up with the hook embedded in his finger.

"He arrived just as the ambulance had the other fellows loaded up to take to hospital, so I took him home, got a pair of side cutters and snipped the (hook) eye off," Mo said.

"Alex told me he wanted to keep the hook as a souvenir - I told him not to put it in his pocket."

Alex said his friend had been catching small bream but he had nothing and tried to throw his line into the bushes.

"We had a good laugh about it

later, but today I'm getting a tetanus shot," Alex said yesterday.

Alex is studying business and psychology at the University of Queensland.

He has been staying at his family's Cabarita holiday house.



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