Grace Heath surrounded by her rescuers at Coffs Harbour Surf Club.
Grace Heath surrounded by her rescuers at Coffs Harbour Surf Club.

Lifesaver skills came to the fore

IT WAS a rescue that a group of Coffs Harbour Surf Club lifesavers would never forget.

They drew on their years of expertise to save lives not at sea this time but at a terrible accident on the notorious highway stretch south of Urunga.

Surf boat rowers Veronique Freeman, Belinda Leeson, Rachael Smyth and Chris McDonough were headed to a surf carnival at Scotts Head when they came across the two-car smash.

Their cool heads kicked in as they and other shocked motorists immediately rushed to the aid of badly injured brother and sister Lindsay and Grace Heath and to a critically-injured man in the other vehicle.

Those frantic moments bonded the rescuers to the siblings.

“Our priority was to triage,” Rachael said.

“The skills that we teach here at the surf club aren’t necessarily confined to the beach. they’re used in every day life.

“It’s a life skill and we’re glad they’re okay and safe.”

Lindsay, an apprentice fitter-machinist with CSIRO and Grace, who had just finished Year 12, were on their way from Brisbane to the NSW South Coast when their Ford Mondeo slammed head-on into a Jeep driven by a Gulmarrad man, 54.

Eyewitnesses said the Jeep appeared to cross the road and spin out of control before the collision, which ruptured the four-wheel-drive’s fuel tank and covered the Heath children in petrol.



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