A jet-ski rider has been rescued from hazardous swells around 300m off Narrabeen Beach.

Around 1.45pm today (Sunday, 03 July) local resident Diane Statis witnessed two young men struggling to launch a red and black jet-ski in rough surf at Long Reef (video below). After nearly falling off near the shore, they managed to get past the breaking waves.

Around 20 minutes later, emergency services responded to a call to assist a person in distress in the water off Narrabeen Beach, close to South Narrabeen Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), where the club had just commenced its Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The alarm was raised when the jet-ski washed ashore with one rider, the other still offshore beyond the surf break. It is understood that the riders had been washed off in large swells, and the driver had been separated from the jet-ski with the keys.

With a number of surf lifesavers on hand, the man was spotted with binoculars, approximately 300m offshore. Conditions made launching a rescue boat too dangerous, although a jet-ski was put on standby at nearby Collaroy Beach.

With surf lifesavers ashore carefully watching the position of the man, who was wearing a black wetsuit and green life jacket, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter responded within 15 minutes and was guided to his exact location in the water.

A number of NSW Police and NSW Ambulance crews responded to the scene, including a NSW Ambulance Inspector and two Special Operations crews, along with a NSW Police Inspector. Units gathered near the Narrabeen SLSC at Ocean Street, with commanding officers joining the Surf Life Saving command post at South Narrabeen SLSC at Pittwater Road.

In treacherous weather conditions, the decision was taken to rescue the man from the air, with a rescuer descending into the water by winch and bringing the man in his 20s back aboard the helicopter, which returned to shore and landed at Surfrider Gardens near Ocean Street, Narrabeen.

Upon landing, the man was greeted by a number of NSW Police officers and NSW Ambulance paramedics. He was uninjured and in good spirits, refusing medical assessment, saying he had not been hurt in the ordeal.

With this information, the NSW Toll Ambulance Rescue Helicopter, which had been en route from Bankstown with a specialist medical team aboard, broke off and returned to base because of the dangerous flight conditions in the appalling weather.

The jet-ski was brought ashore near South Narrabeen SLSC for later recovery by the two men, who began walking towards Long Reef where they had parked their vehicle. Just after 2.45pm, an hour after the men had initially set off, the incident was over and South Narrabeen SLSC were able to resume their AGM.

Videos: Diane Statis, Luke Gavahan
Images: Luke Gavahan, Northern Beaches On Scene

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