CLOSE CALL: Woolgoolga local Kathy Haines (centre) and her two sons Nickolas and Jamie were rescued from a rip at Woolgoolga's Main Beach at the weekend.
CLOSE CALL: Woolgoolga local Kathy Haines (centre) and her two sons Nickolas and Jamie were rescued from a rip at Woolgoolga's Main Beach at the weekend. Contributed

Mum would rather another crash than getting caught in a rip

A MOTHER of two is grateful to be alive after being pulled from an unseen rip.

Kathy Haines, a former Surf Life Saver, went for a swim at Woolgoolga Main Beach on Saturday with her two boys to cool down after a day cycling.

The beach was un-patrolled but Ms Haines, who has lived at Woolgoolga for 38 years, thought she knew the beach well enough to ventured in.

"It's usually patrolled and a safe beach but on Saturday it wasn't," she said.

When getting out, Ms Haines and her two sons got dragged out in a rip.

"The waves kept coming over and over," she said. "They kept coming over our heads, they weren't pushing us in."

Woolgoolga Main Beach.
Woolgoolga Main Beach. Trevor Veale

Ms Haines, who previously had a head-on crash on the highway, said she would rather face another crash than get caught in another rip.

"Honestly, this is worse," she said. "It takes a couple of seconds to get exhausted."

She was rescued by a pair of backpacking boardriders. "All I could do was hug them and thank them," she said.

Ms Haines said she would never again go swimming at an un-patrolled beach and would have a board nearby.

Coffs Harbour Lifeguard team leader Greg Hackfath echoed this point of having a nearby board or suitable flotation device when swimming at an un-patrolled beach.

But he warned it was best to swim between the flags and follow lifeguard or lifesavers instructions with this week's big seas.



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