Teenage surfers rescue three family members caught in a rip at South Bombo

LIFE SAVERS: Ronin Murray, 15, and Callum Cunningham, 14, were surfing at South Bombo when they noticed three people caught in a rip. Photo: Adam McLean.
LIFE SAVERS: Ronin Murray, 15, and Callum Cunningham, 14, were surfing at South Bombo when they noticed three people caught in a rip. Photo: Adam McLean.

A pair of Kiama teenagers are being hailed as heroes after rescuing three family members caught in a rip at South Bombo on Sunday. 

Kiama High School students Callum Cunningham, 14, and Ronin Murray, 15, were surfing at the unpatrolled part of the beach, when they noticed the swimmers in distress. 

“I saw a woman struggling, so I paddled over on my board and took her out through the rip, they were pretty stressed out when I first got to them,” Ronin said.

“When I looked up at Callum, I saw he was out on the water.”

Callum was sitting on the beach when he realised the man and two women were in danger of drowning.  

“The rest of the family on the beach were shouting out to get help and the people in the water were swimming against the rip and they looked like they were in distress,” he said. 

“I got my board and paddled out to them, I went to the person in the middle and she said she knew how to swim, so I told her to go to the side of the rip where the bank was, but she told me her brother couldn’t swim.

“I got a wave to the brother, got him on my board and luckily a set came, so we got pushed in by the sets until he could stand and walked the rest of the way in.”

Ronin then paddled back out and assisted the remaining woman back to shore. 

Kiama Council lifeguard Andy Mole described the boys’ actions as “an act of bravery”.

“It’s a reminder for everyone to be aware of rips and to educate themselves on what to do if caught in one or what to do if you need to help someone,” Mr Mole said.

“The boys acted calmly and showed great bravery in helping the adults. They’re not the strongest or the biggest teenagers and it was not an easy task for them.”

Ronin said it took a while for the reality of the rescue to set in.

“It was pretty crazy, I guess it was just something we did and then afterwards we realised we might have saved their lives,” he said.

Callum’s father Craig Cunningham was proud of the boys’ brave efforts.

“They did an extraordinary job, there’s no doubt in my mind they saved three lives. Our families are really happy and proud,” he said.

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