Children return to Sandy Beach, a day after a woman drowned there.
Children return to Sandy Beach, a day after a woman drowned there. TREVOR VEALE

Drowning takes shine off holidays

SANDY Beach was quiet yesterday, as locals came to terms with the shock there’d been a drowning there.

A sombre mood was evident when speaking with beachgoers.

One local, David Dempsey and his four children, took to the water as usual.

“People are amazed that it has happened, people are quite upset, there have been emotional comments and emotions have been running high with some people,” Mr Dempsey said.

He said most locals regard the beach as safe – and shallow for children – but stressed the dangers of swimming at even the safest beaches in the wrong conditions.

“The problem was (on Tuesday) it was just wild surf, there were strong southerly winds, the surf wasn’t too big, but it was untidy.”

Another man summed up the feeling of many in the community: “Surf awareness is the biggest problem. People come here and are not aware of the dangers.”

Others suggested there should be lifeguards on patrol.

The Coffs Harbour City Council passed on its condolences to the deceased woman’s family yesterday.

A spokesperson outlined its beach safety strategy, stating that it patrols eight of the 32 beaches on the Coffs Coast.

“Council’s lifeguards and local surf life saving clubs patrol the most popular and safest swimming beaches throughout the summer season.

“Ideally we’d like to patrol every beach in the area, but council doesn’t have unlimited funds, so we use our resources to patrol the busiest beaches."

Patrols were on duty daily, between 9am-5pm, at Red Rock, Corindi, Darlington Park/Lorikeet Park, Woolgoolga, Emerald Beach, Diggers, Park Beach and Sawtell.



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