Matthew Whittingham (left), 20, of Rous, was saved yesterday by Mick Marrs, 61, of Lennox Head, after being pulled out to sea b
Matthew Whittingham (left), 20, of Rous, was saved yesterday by Mick Marrs, 61, of Lennox Head, after being pulled out to sea b

MICK, 61, SAVES MATT, 20, FROM RIP

By MARY MANN mary.mann@northernstar.com.au A 61-YEAR-OLD man, who 'can't swim that well', rescued a 20-year-old man who was being washed out to sea at a Lennox Head beach yesterday afternoon.

Mick Marrs, caretaker of the Lennox Head Beachfront Apartments, had been cleaning one of the units about 12.30pm when he heard people yelling outside.

"A lady came and said, 'There's a guy in trouble in the water', and we just ran outside," Mick said.

"She grabbed a bodyboard and I took it, then threw my mobile phone on to the grass and ran over the rocks, into the water.

"I realised when I was halfway out I still had my sandals on."

Mr Marrs paddled out about 200 metres to reach Rous resident Matthew Whittingham, who was struggling as strong waves kept dragging him further out to sea at Seven Mile Beach.

When Mr Marrs reached Matthew, he helped him on to the board and they started to make their way back towards the safety of the shore.

"It took me ages to get him back in. He was absolutely exhausted," Mr Marrs said.

"I'm not a very good swimmer myself, so I certainly wasn't going to let go of that bodyboard.

"I'm shaking like a leaf now, I really am. That's why I came to the pub for a drink."

The pair had a couple of beers together at the local pub after the big ordeal.

A slightly-embarrassed Matthew, who was on day two of a week-long family holiday at the apartments where Mr Marrs works, said he had been struggling to get back in for about 10 minutes before Mr Marrs came to his rescue.

Matthew was the only one in the water at the time, and when he realised he was in trouble he started waving his arms at his mum, who was standing on the shore.

"She was yelling advice on how I should get in, but I couldn't hear her," he said.

"I was stressing out, not being able to get enough oxygen. The waves just kept pulling me out further and further."

When Matthew finally got to the shore, his legs felt like jelly and his feet were numb.

"The water was really cold," he said. "I'm just grateful Mick helped me."



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