News

Tourists unaware of hidden dangers

Police and other associated rescue services scour Cape Byron for any sign of the missing 19-year-old Irish surfer who went missing in rough seas last weekend.
Police and other associated rescue services scour Cape Byron for any sign of the missing 19-year-old Irish surfer who went missing in rough seas last weekend. Marc Stapelberg

MIKE Determan recalls with "crystal" clarity the day he and three other local surfers rescued two tourists drowning in a rip at Tallow Beach June 2004.

The surfers received bravery awards for their efforts to resuscitate a French traveller as waves smashed over them, but tragically the man later died.

Last Saturday another tourist, Irishman Stuart Butler, 20, was lost to the sea in the notorious rip at Tallow Beach raising questions of what is needed to stop the tide of visitors becoming drowning statistics on our coastline.

"You really feel for these people and their families," Mike Determan said.

"What happened that day (in 2004) is still crystal clear to me. People think the water looks so inviting, but without the right knowledge it can take you in an instant."

The strong rips that occur from Tallow Beach to Broken Head are well-known to locals - they even feature in Dreamtime stories told by local Bundjalung people with two sisters said to have drowned in a rip and then transformed into rocks at Broken Head - and yet, the deaths keep happening.

In the last 10 years there have been 16 drownings on Byron Shire beaches - more than half of them tourists - statistics prompting Surf life Saving NSW to commence Project Blueprint in 2012, a coastal risk assessment of every beach, rock platform and headland in the state.

Among the recommendations to have come out of the Project Blueprint are increased signage, more paid lifeguards and more angel rings for our beaches -all of which need funding.

Byron Shire Council has responded to the SLSNSW best practice recommendations of having two life guards on duty at council-managed beaches, director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway said, and spent $316,000 on beach patrol services last year, with the tender for 2014/15 services being advertised now.

The tender will also cover The Pass, Wategos, Tallow and Broken Head beaches managed by the Cape Byron Headland Trust and NPWS - with Tallow to have one lifeguard on duty during the Easter and summer holiday periods plus the October long weekend.

However, despite a massive public warning campaign by SLSNSW in the week leading up to the treacherous conditions that took the young Irishman's life last weekend and ongoing education by local surfers and instructors, veteran Byron Bay surfer and former Californian lifeguard, Rusty Miller, says the shire needs to implement a lifeguard system similar to California.

"We need year-round lifeguards for our town, equipped with oxygen and defibrillators," he said.

Mike Determan agrees, saying a lifeguard on duty may have been able to prevent the death of the tourist he valiantly tried to save from the Tallow rip all those years ago.

 

Drownings in the Byron Shire

6/02/2005 Tyagarah Beach, aged 28, male, Finish, international tourist, died while swimming

17/01/2006 Suffolk Park Beach, 44, male, Australian resident, died while swimming

1/03/2006 Tallow Beach, 30, female, Korean, Australian resident, died while swimming

21/01/2007 Brunswick Heads, 20, male, Australian resident, died while swimming

6/03/2007 Belongil Beach, 26, female, Japanese, Australian resident, died while swimming

21/07/2007 Brunswick Heads, 20, male, Australian resident, died while swimming

16/09/07 Wategos, 57, male, unknown status, died while on a surfcraft (non powered)

25/03/2008 Belongil Heads, 35, male, Australian resident, died while swimming

28/04/2008 Belongil, 58, male, Australian resident, died while swimming

11/05/2010 Suffolk Park, 30, male, African-American, Australian resident, died while swimming

1/04/2012 Belongil Beach, 24, male, Indian, Australian resident, died while swimming

1/04/2012 Belongil Beach, 25, male, Indian, Australian resident, died while swimming

21/12/2012 New Brighton, 28, female, German, international tourist, died while on a surfcraft (non powered)

28/02/2014 Brunswick Beach, 50, male, Australian resident, died while swimming

12/03/2014 Brunswick Beach, aged in 70s, male, English, international tourist, died while swimming

19/07/2014 Byron Bay, 20, male, Irish, international tourist, died while on a surfcraft (non powered).

Topics:  drowning life savers surf rescue



LISTEN: Resident airs frustrations over parking debacle

Paid parking has pushed hospital commuters into suburbia, proving problematic for residents.

Parking pressures felt in suburbia of hospital precinct

Milestones to be celebrated during Reconciliation Week

50th anniversary of 1967 referendum, 25th anniversary of Mabo

How to reduce your plastic footprint

Wasteful world.

Last night's episode of War on Waste hit the nail on the head again

Local Partners

Lismore City Council to demolish much-loved Lake Pool

LISMORE City councillors have backed down from spending $2.75 million to refurbish the Lismore Lake Pool, the scene of many happy childhood memories.


First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Stories Troy Cassar-Daley carries around

LEGEND: Troy Cassar-Daley after receiving the Golden Guitar Award for Album of the Year during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

You can see him in Ballina this weekend

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Rebel Wilson says she didn’t have to lie to make it

I’M not glamorous, but that doesn’t make me a liar: that’s the message from Rebel Wilson on her second day in the witness box.

All bets on Judah to win battle to become the Voice

Judah Kelly from The Voice.

Judah Kelly is the clear favourite to win the competition.

Kim Kardashian slammed over Manchester tribute

Kim Kardashian's tribute to Manchester didn't go down well

Top Gun 2 movie is happening, Tom Cruise confirms

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Top Gun.

TOM Cruise delights fans with announcement on Sunrise.

The first Baywatch movie reviews are in

From left, Jon Bass, Alex Daddario, Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera in a scene from the movie Baywatch.

Critics were less than impressed.

Boyfriend loses it over sex lie

Stacey Louise’s sex lie destroys her relationship.

SEVEN Year Switch’s Stacey told a fib about her sex life.

Why Crowe’s thankful for those ‘bulls**t’ rumours

Russell Crowe and Terri Irwin in 2007.

Crowe and Terri Irwin have been dodging dating rumours for years now

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Bonville to become new housing hub

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into housing

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!