The Surf Life Saving National Awards of Excellence programme recognises the contribution of our amazing members from the grass roots of Surf Life Saving during the 2019/2020 season. Congratulations to all of our winners and award recipients.
Rescue <strong>of</strong> the Year Award The SLS Kariaotahi Emergency Call Out Squad at the NZ Search and Rescue <strong>Awards</strong>, where they won the NZ Search & Rescue GOLD Award for Operational Activity. SLS Kariaotahi Emergency Call Out Squad
Three lives saved. It doesn’t get much better for Kariaotahi’s Surf Life Saving Club’s Emergency Call Out Squad <strong>of</strong> Shannon Benterman, Bradley Walters, Nick Hornblow, Shannon Swann, Maddison Hare, Leanni Browne, Josh Watkins, James Burton, Chris Parker, Mike Lawrence, Guy Hornblow and Tara Coe. At 5.50pm on May 25, 2019, the squad was sent to the Waikato River Mouth with an IRB and Night Operations Kit to combine with the Sunset Beach Lifeguard Service, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Police Eagle Helicopter to search for a missing boat with three on board. An hour later Eagle spotted the boat, it’s crew all wearing life jackets but about half a mile out to sea. Westpac tried to winch them on board but the conditions were too rough so Kariaotahi headed out, Westpac’s spotlight guiding them. It was 7.16pm when Hornblow and crewman Walters left shore and within a few minutes they had reached the stricken boat, pulled the crew into the IRB and returned to shore. Two <strong>of</strong> them, a woman and seven year old boy, had little sign <strong>of</strong> life and needed urgent care with CPR administered to the woman before she and the boy were flown by the Westpac chopper to hospital while lifeguards transported the man to the Surf Club where he was met by an ambulance. Walters, the head <strong>of</strong> Surf Life Saving at Kariaotahi, said the rescue was the result <strong>of</strong> years <strong>of</strong> training, sound processes and risk assessments in place by the agencies involved. Without that and the fast, efficient patient pick up by the IRB crew under difficult conditions it was almost certain that those three lives would have been lost that night. “It was a fantastic, well coordinated, multi-agency response which had a positive outcome for all involved,” Walters said. READ THE FULL STORY