News

Engineer rescues tourists from Broken Head surf

LUCKY: Chris Appelkamp (right) rescued this unnamed English tourist (centre) and a friend from a rip at Broken Head on Saturday. Another tourist (left) struggled, but made it to shore.
LUCKY: Chris Appelkamp (right) rescued this unnamed English tourist (centre) and a friend from a rip at Broken Head on Saturday. Another tourist (left) struggled, but made it to shore.

TWO English tourists may have drowned if it wasn't for holidaying geotechnical engineer Chris Appelkamp.

Mr Appelkamp, of Wollongong, rescued the two swimmers at Broken Head on Saturday about 4pm after they were caught in a rip at an unpatrolled beach.

He was attending a family baby shower when the tourists ran into trouble.

"All of the guys went for a swim, everyone got out, but I stayed in to catch a few waves and body surf," the 31-year-old said.

"Three English guys were out there, one with a bodyboard, and they didn't look very confident."

About 50m offshore, the sand dropped off suddenly, leaving the surprised tourists trapped in a powerful rip and unable to stand.

"They were just bobbing around one minute, then one of the guys without a board screamed for help," Mr Appelkamp said.

"I thought they were taking the piss, so I yelled 'are you serious?' and they kept going."

Realising the severity of the situation, Mr Appelkamp, a strong swimmer and surfer, made his way to the men.

"One guy was going under water and he was definitely fading," he said.

"He couldn't touch the bottom so just kept getting swept along with the rip.

"I used the board and started pushing him in and his shorts came down.

"I didn't want to body surf in his cheeks, so I changed position and got him in.

"Then his mate started screaming too, so I went and got the other guy and got him in, with the third guy coming along trying to help."

Despite swallowing some water and suffering exhaustion, both tourists were uninjured.

"The whole time I was calm," Mr Appelkamp said.

"I didn't think it was a big deal, but everyone else on the beach seemed to.

"Now I think about it, these guys would've been gone without someone there."

Topics:  broken head, drowning, outdoor-living, surf safety




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Buff contestants compete for Mr Beef crown

Dylan Hancok and Nick Taylor, of Casino, will battle it out for the Mr Beef Week title in Casino. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Mr Beef rules are, there are no rules

OPINION: Which is the more go ahead town Ballina or Lismore?

Busy Ballina Airport terminal after a Virgin Australia, Jetstar, and Rex Airlines arrive within 30min of each other. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star

Ballina airport terminal is set to triple

WATCH: Local artists ‘paint’ the Opera House with light

SONGLINES: Artwork by local artist Karla Dickens as it may look in the Sydney Opera House during the Vivid Sydney Festival 2016.

Rhoda Roberts and Karla Dickens' work will be seen by millions

Latest deals and offers

Mr Beef contestants talk the talk

Mr Beef entrants George Clarke and Nathan Conroy, of England, with last years's Mr Beef Teate Jackson (front).  Photo Doug Eaton / Express Examiner

Dylan Hancok and Nick Taylor, of Casino, will battle it out for the Mr Beef Week...

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Lismore real estate agent celebrates 100th birthday

LJ Hooker Lismore principal Paul Deegan is the third generation to operate the 100-year-old family business.

A Lismore real estate is celebrating 100 years in business.

Coastal development keeps young people on Northern Rivers

Wes Bale is a 27-year-old born and bred Lennox Head local who is an example of the demographic shift in the region.

Young Northern Rivers residents are looking closer to home