Unknown shark attack saviours identified
AN UNKNOWN couple who came to the aid of Mathew Lee after he was attacked by what is believed to be a four-metre Great White shark on Thursday at Ballina have been identified.
Ballina Marine Rescue members Margaret "Meg" Luckie and radio officer, Douglas Hunter said when a person rushed into their training room saying someone had a heart attack on Lighthouse Beach they grabbed the Automated External Defibrillator AED and ran up the beach.
"We thought we were running to help a heart attack victim," Meg said.
"We had our AED but when we arrived we were shocked to see Mathew's injuries and the massive amount of blood lost."
Mr Hunter said Mathew's surfing mates had put Boogie Board straps around his legs and were pulling them tight to help stop that flow of blood.
"I took over on one leg with one of Mathew's mates on the other," he said.
"These guys were really doing a great first aid job.
"Meg and I continued to help for about 10 minutes or more.
"Then the ambos and helicopter arrived. We stepped back and they did the rest."
Both members were at a regular Marine Rescue training session.
"Neither of us was in uniform and on the news last night we heard about the unknown man and woman who were at the scene," Meg said.
"I said to our Unit Commander John Donohue today 'That must have been us!'"
When she found out the body boarders name, Meg realised she knew his mum.
"I didn't know the identity of the injured surfer yesterday but now I also realise that I play tennis with his mother," she said.
"I haven't had a chance to speak to her yet as she's been too occupied with Mathew at the hospital. I'm just so pleased that we were able to help."
Mr Donohue said the attack highlighted the urgent need to replace the Marine Rescue tower.
"This incident also shows how important the new radio tower building would be if it can be built," he said.
"Its position will give an excellent view of the southern section of the beach and the north wall of the breakwater."