Ceremony honours hero Aggie
THE Fingal community will gather on Sunday, October 18 to commemorate the loss of 26-year-old New Zealand woman Aggie Auelua.
A wreath-laying ceremony will be held at Fingal Head Beach, near the surf life saving club, starting at 10.45am.
Ms Auelua, who had been living on the Gold Coast, was trying to save a nine-year-old Fingal boy who’d been swept off the rocks at the headland about 5pm last Saturday.
But with rough conditions in the water, she ended up in trouble too.
While rescuers were able to get the boy out safely, Ms Auelua later died at Tweed Hospital.
Ms Auelua’s selfless act has since seen her heralded a hero by the community, with flowers left at the headland throughout the week.
Fingal Surf Life Saving Club president Steven Kudzius said Sunday’s ceremony would offer the community – and those involved in the rescue – some closure after the tragedy, while giving the opportunity to pay respects to the young life lost.
“It’s really rocked the community here,” he said.
Mr Kudzius said the surf lifesaving volunteers had ended their Saturday patrol not long before the incident.
He said fortunately a volunteer was still at the club when the call came through – and they took no longer to respond than they would have if on duty.
“We were still in the water within minutes,” he said.
He said the tragic outcome was something the rescuers and community were still coming to terms with.
Mr Kudzius said volunteers were receiving ongoing support after the incident.
“Obviously it’s the worst thing we could ever experience as surf lifesavers,” he said.
“It’s not a pleasant experience... but we want to comment on the brave and selfless act Aggie did.”
He said the nine-year-old boy, who escaped with just a few minor injuries, had been receiving strong support from friends and family.
Mr Kudzius said local children had approached him for information about rock safety since the incident.
He urged people to take extra precautions around the headland.
It’s understood Ms Auelua’s family will take her home to New Zealand for a traditional funeral.