A TEENAGE may boy owe his life to the quick reaction of a local family, who rescued him with the help of lifesavers, after he got into trouble in the surf off Coffs Harbour's North Wall.
The boy, a visitor to the coast, was fully clothed and wading in shallow water with his sister when he was sucked out on a rip on Thursday around 12.30pm.
Luckily for him, Carly Simpson and her children Kiara, Oscar and Will Edwards were on the beach at the time.
"Will said he could hear someone screaming for help, but couldn't actually see him in the water," Carly said.
"Oscar saw him about 200-metres off the beach and said it's too strong for me Mum, so I ripped all my gear off and jumped in.
"I couldn't actually see him in the water, as I swam out ... I just remember thinking I am not going back to the beach without him.
As Carly swam to the boy's aid, a bystander ran to alert Coffs Harbour Surf Life Savers, who were facing their own challenge having closed Park Beach due to reports of a shark sighting.
"The boy was under water when I got to him and when I lifted him up he was panicking, he had taken on water and was hysterical," Carly said.
"I held him under the arms and placed his head on my shoulder, I said we are just going to float and wait to be rescued.
"It was so strong out there I could only do breaststroke.
Carly's daughter Kiara swam out and kept the boy calm until lifesavers arrived in an IRB and pulled them to safety.
"He wouldn't have made it had it not been for my kids and the surf club kids," Carly said.
Both the boy and Carly were assessed by paramedics for shock.
Many rescues have been performed on North Wall Beach, at the southern end of Park Beach which was the scene of a drowning in 2009.
Across the state, volunteer surf life savers and lifeguards performed 40 rescues on New Years Day.
One man in his 60s drowned in the surf on the Central Coast.
Four people were revived on beaches and lifesavers responded to 15 incidents involving spinal injuries caused by a strong easterly swell shore dump.
"Our volunteers have been under the pump ... At one stage our State Operations Centre was dealing with six incidents at once," Surf Life Saving NSW director of lifesaving John Restuccia said.
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