RESCUE CREW: Evans Head lifesavers (from left) Ben Redman, Callum O’Grady and John Rigley were awarded for their bravery in rough seas and fading light.
RESCUE CREW: Evans Head lifesavers (from left) Ben Redman, Callum O’Grady and John Rigley were awarded for their bravery in rough seas and fading light. Blainey Woodham

Bravery awards for daring trio

THREE local heroes have received a police award for bravery at a recent ceremony at Invercauld House, Lismore.

Jon Rigley, Ben Redman and Callum O'Grady of Evans Head-Casino Surf Life Saving Club were nominated for the awards following an outstanding effort to rescue a woman from treacherous seas off Evans Head in late March.

Shortly after 7pm on March 26, club captain Mr Rigley received a call from police requesting his help with the rescue.

Mr Rigley rang on-call life- guard Mr Redman and the two set off for the beach where they met clubman Mr O'Grady.

The three men had the rescue boat in the water within 10 minutes of receiving the first call.

It then took them another 10 minutes to locate the woman, a task severely hampered by fading light.

"The seas were rough and a big swell was coming through, creating hazardous conditions," said Snr Const Peter Richardson of Evans Head Police, who co-ordinated the rescue and nominated the men for the award.

"These men were heading out into an abyss. They really put their lives at risk."

Mr Rigley said it would have been a routine rescue during daylight, but the darkness made it difficult.

"We were having trouble seeing the woman we were rescuing so we had to turn off the boat's motor so that we could hear her calls," he said.

The woman, who was in her late 30s, had drifted about 500m out to sea and was extremely distressed when reached by her rescuers.

Mr Rigley estimated she had spent as much as 40 min- utes in the water and would have most likely drowned if they hadn't reached her so quickly.



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