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Off Duty Lifeguard Saves Three Lives at Apollo Bay, Then Goes Back to Surfing

This just goes to show what I have always believed, that Australia must have the world’s best lifeguards:

THREE people thrown overboard from a small fishing boat owe their lives to an an off-duty lifesaver who came to the rescue after spotting them struggling in heavy Victorian surf.

Jimmy Matthews, a lifesaver at Apollo Bay in Victoria’s southwest, said he was waiting to go for a surf yesterday afternoon near Skenes Creek along the Great Ocean Road when he saw five people in trouble in the water.

The three men and two women, all wearing life jackets, had been tipped out of their 5m aluminium boat and were struggling in the big swell about 100m from the beach.

Mr Matthews, 46, a local builder, said he had been watching them for a while before he realised they needed help.

Two of the men had managed to reach reached shore, but the other three remained in trouble.

Mr Matthews swam out and grabbed one of the women and took her back to shore.

“I went for her first because I thought her head was bleeding but it turned out to be pink hair dye,” Mr Matthews said.

He then returned and took hold of the second woman while the man followed them in.

“The girls were pretty panicky,” he said.

But he wasn’t finished yet – he grabbed the rope coil from the dinghy which had washed up on shore and dragged it in. [AAP]

Having traveled to Apollo Bay multiple times and I can verify that yes, the surf there can definitely get rough and it was no easy rescue that Matthews pulled off.  You do gotta to love how nonchalant Matthews was after rescuing three people:

A modest Mr Matthews, who has rescued swimmers in his volunteer work as a surf lifesaver, did not want to make too much of his bravery.

“I was wet anyway so I just kept going back in,” he said.

After all were safe and in the hands of paramedics, he turned around and went surfing.

“That’s what I went there for,” he said.

For those that do not live in Australia, the lifeguards here are incredible and extremely professional.  I have been nothing but impressed with them, especially considering so many of them are volunteers.