Thanks given for Lennox beach rescue
By DAWN COHEN
AT Seven Mile Beach yesterday, Deni Connor thanked four kitesurfers for saving her household's lives on the weekend, just hours and metres from where a couple drowned earlier in the afternoon.
On Saturday, Deni Connor, her daughter Sarah and Sarah's boyfriend Carl Morgan were trapped by a strong rip in front of the play area at Lennox Head.
It was three days before Carl's 17th birthday.
The Lismore household decided, unusually, to go for a swim at Lennox Head late in the afternoon.
Deni watched from the beach while her daughter Sarah, 18, and Carl dived in.
"I was thinking how lovely the kite surfers looked," said Deni.
"Then I saw Carl was out too far. He was thrashing in the water."
She knew instantly they were in trouble, but she lost sight of him.
"I yelled at two women on the beach 'I can't see my daughter'.
"They caught a glimpse of them. Sarah was crying for help.
"I am a useless swimmer, but I just ran in. I was yelling 'Sarah, Sarah'.
In minutes the rip was dragging the 49-year-old out also.
The waves were coming from both directions.
She could float for a moment before the next one pounded her. Meanwhile kite surfers Alan Emery, Karlee Mackie, Billy Hession and Sunny Russell were alerted by passers-by.
"We ran to Billy's house and grabbed some boards," said Kar- lee.
Sunny found Deni first.
"He was so amazingly clear," said Deni.
"He just gave me his board and swam out for the others."
Alan and Sunny returned them to shore with the help of the other two.
They were all conscious, but Carl had taken in a lot of water. He was hospitalised, at risk of drowning from the fluid in his lungs.
By Tuesday the family was celebrating his 17th birthday with cheesecake and cream.
"We are not really beach people," said the Melbourne youth yesterday.
Meanwhile Deni handed their rescuers exquisitely carved wooden boxes, each containing a small red heart.
"There aren't enough words to say how grateful I am," she said. "The drowning today reminds me if it was not for you we would not be here."
Sunny's eyes reddened as he opened the box.
"It must be sand in my eye," he joked.
"We are just happy you are alive."