A rock fisherman has a quick-thinking angler and fast-responding lifeguards to thank after he slipped and fell into the ocean near Kiama on Monday morning.
The man, understood to be aged in his 20s, spent about 10 minutes afloat before he was plucked from the water at Cathedral Rocks.
Emergency services – including Kiama Municipal Councuil lifeguards and Surf Life Saving NSW members – responded to the incident about 8.45am.
Council lifeguards on a jet-ski were on the scene within just a few minutes, supervisor Andy Mole said.
“Upon our arrival the member of the public had been handed a life ring … and he was floating around on that,” Mr Mole said.
“The lifeguards got him aboard the jet-ski and brought him back to North Bombo beach.”
The fisherman wasn’t wearing a lifejacket at the time of the incident.
However, he had wet a line near another group of anglers – one of whom was able to throw an angel ring (or life buoy) to him.
“Fortunately for this guy there was a life ring and his friend did the right thing and chucked it to him,” Mr Mole said.
“Obviously he was a bit shaken up. Apparently he stepped down on a rock and then slipped and fell into the water.”
The angel ring deployed in the rescue effort was one of two installed at the rock platform, which is easily accessible and known as a popular fishing spot.
Mr Mole said angel rings were dotted along the coast within the Kiama local government area, in particular at known rockfishing black spots.
Surf Life Saving NSW chief executive Steven Pearce said the incident was a reminder of the importance of wearing a lifejacket while fishing.
“Fortunately the young man had everything in his favour today, starting with the member of the public who had the foresight to throw in the angel ring and the relatively calm conditions, along with the prompt response from lifeguards and lifesavers,” Mr Pearce said.
“While this was a successful outcome, it does serve as an important warning of the need for all rockfishers to wear a lifejacket.”
A NSW Ambulance rescue helicopter was tasked to the incident, but was called off as it arrived at the scene.
Paramedics assessed the fisherman. He was uninjured and refused transport to hospital.