Ambulance officers and surf lifesavers perform CPR on the 35-year-old Main Arm man who drowned yesterday at New Brighton Beach.
Ambulance officers and surf lifesavers perform CPR on the 35-year-old Main Arm man who drowned yesterday at New Brighton Beach. Kate O’Neill

Hero drowns saving young sister

A 35-YEAR-OLD man drowned at New Brighton yesterday while trying to rescue his sister.

Police said the Main Arm man was at the beach with his 14-year-old sister and her 14-year-old friend, when the friend went swimming and was caught in a rip.

The man’s sister swam out to help her friend, but was also caught in the rip and taken further out.

Tweed-Byron police duty officer Inspector Darren Steel said the 35-year-old man then swam out to help his sister.

“The man entered the water to help, but he got into difficulties,” Inspector Steel said.

Passers-by, including local surfers, went to the man’s aid, but he was unconscious when he was removed from the surf.

“By the time we were called over he was already blue,” local man Ted Kabbout said.

Mr Kabbout and others performed CPR on the man until ambulance officers and surf rescue arrived.
Attempts to revive the man continued, but he died on the beach close to the Strand Avenue access track.

Inspector Steel said the man’s sister was rescued by passers-by and taken by ambulance to Tweed Heads Hospital.

The other girl made it back to the beach unaided.

The Careflight Rescue Helicopter was called to the beach, but sent back when it became apparent the man could not be revived.

Witnesses said it had all happened very quickly and the three had only been about 20 metres off the beach.

Northern NSW Lifeguard co-ordinator Scott McCartney said the drowning served as a reminder for beach-goers to take extra care.

He said while conditions were not too rough yesterday, New Brighton beach could be particularly treacherous because it was such a long stretch of beach and had many troughs and gutters.

Locals at the scene said rescues were not uncommon and a person had been saved at the same spot only two weeks ago.

“It’s always best to swim at a beach that is patrolled,” Mr McCartney said.


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