Man drowns at Gunnamatta


A MAN, 27, drowned at Gunnamatta beach, Sunday, while swimming with friends about 500 metres west of the area patrolled by lifesavers.

The Taiwanese national, of Box Hill, got into trouble after being caught in a rip and pulled off a sandbank at 1.20pm.

His two friends alerted lifesavers, who ran back along the beach. One swam out to the boy and brought him ashore.

The lifesavers performed CPR until Ambulance Victoria crews arrived to take over, but he could not be revived and died at the scene.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

Gunnamatta club captain Patrick Murphy described conditions as “moderate”, with a one metre swells, a stiff south-westerly wind, and many rips.

“It was mild for Gunnamatta but what we call mild is based on our experiences of the conditions we can get here.”

Club president Greg Goulet said the rips on Sunday were “fairly strong”.

“Someone not familiar with Gunnamatta, especially if they are not a strong swimmer, would find the conditions way out of their depth,” he said.

About 120 swimmers were at the beach.

Mr Murphy said lifesavers had performed 27 rescues at Gunnamatta this summer and “a couple of thousand preventative measures”.

Surf Life Saving Australia describes Gunnamatta beach as “extremely hazardous” due to its high waves and strong rips, with lifesavers performing an average of 113 rescues each year – the second highest in the state.

First published in the Western Port News – 26 January 2016


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