Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Some Boaties All at Sea Crossing Bar; Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue Captain Pushes Safety-First Message in Wake of Capsize Tragedy

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Some Boaties All at Sea Crossing Bar; Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue Captain Pushes Safety-First Message in Wake of Capsize Tragedy

Article excerpt

Byline: Graham Broadhead news@northernstar.com.au

IT'S A message that local volunteer rescuers have long been pushing: Take care when crossing local river bars.

Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue captain Garry Meredith repeated the call after he was involved in the rescue last week of two of four men who were thrown from their craft when it capsized entering the Ballina bar on the outgoing tide.

A third man was rescued by a passing jet ski rider and taken to North Wall where he was treated by paramedics.

Tragically the fourth man, 64-year-old Raymond Ensbey of Casino, died as a result of the incident.

A boat which was on the scene at the time of the incident transported Mr Ensbey to Lance Ferris Wharf at Fawcett Park, where efforts were made to resuscitate him by Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crew members.

Mr Meredith estimates the jet boat was on the scene, with two crew on board, within eight minutes ofreceiving the call-out.

He said boaties should always check with the Ballina Coast Guard about conditions on the bar, and take their advice, particularly when a crossing is not recommended.

The vessel that capsized last week was coming over the bar from the ocean on an outgoing tide, which already was low, with onshore winds, creating steep, treacherous waves.

Mr Meredith said if boaties were in any doubt about crossing the bar, they simply shouldn't attempt it.

He said if a boatie was stuck outside on the low tide, they should a[approximately]sit it out and wait until the top of the tide'.

"As soon as the tide starts running out the Ballina bar deteriorates," he said.

While he said conditions at the time of the incident last week a[approximately]were bad', the Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue vessel was designed to handle them. It was powered by a 240hpdiesel turbo-charged and super-charged Volvo Penta engine, he said. …

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