Rings offer hope at treacherous Fingal headland
THE head of the Angel Ring Project has welcomed news flotation devices could be installed at Fingal Head within weeks.
Stan Konstantaras is the Angel Ring co-ordinator for the NSW National Sportfishing Association-run Angel Ring Project.
Mr Konstantaras hoped a meeting - held on friday between a representative of the Angel Ring Project, Tweed MP Geoff Provest and Surf Life Saving NSW chief executive officer Steven Pearce and others - would result in three angel rings installed at the headland.
Japanese man Tomoe Ogisu, 22, last Wednesday became the fourth person to drown at Fingal Head since October 2015.
Mr Konstantaras said it was a "shame” it had taken years to see progress on the installation of the rings, but he said this was the result of a "very litigious society” in which the State Government was forced to be "extremely cautious”.
This meant an exhaustive search for insurance cover which did not exist.
He said the group's angel rings had saved almost 100 lives since the project was launched 20 years ago, most recently at Kiama last week.
"It does make a difference,” he said.
"It's about keeping people calm and afloat and away from the impact zone while rescue crews are mobilised.”
For the past 10 years, the rings have been funded through NSW fishing licences and the Angel Ring Project is volunteer-run.
Surf Life Saving Far North Coast duty officer Jimmy Keough said any safety equipment at the headland was "warranted”.
"We don't want another tragedy,” Mr Keough said.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest welcomed Friday's meeting between key stakeholders, meaning there could be "no reason” for further delays.
He urged residents to respect the rings when they are installed in several weeks' time, as some in other locations have been vandalised or stolen.
"Respect them as they are rescue devices... and they can save a life,” he said.
Surf Life Saving clubs are on patrol until after the Easter school holidays on weekends, including at Fingal Head (northern beach) and Cudgen Headland SLSC at Kingscliff, while lifeguards are on duty Monday to Friday at Kingscliff beach until the end of May.
Swimmers are urged only swim between the flags at patrolled beaches.