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British Columbia

Overwhelmed lifesavers on high alert

“What is so worrying about this incident is that a patrolled location was only available a short distance away where our lifeguards would be in a much better position to respond.”

The flags were lowered at Venus Bay to allow lifeguards to focus on the rescue.

Paramedics checked a man in his 20s on the beach before he was taken to Wonthaggi Public Hospital in stable condition.

Other rescues on Friday included two people at Woodside Beach near Sale, two at Portsea, four at Geelong, six at Gunnamatta Beach, one at Jan Juc and one at Torquay.

Treloar said Victorians need to make good choices by swimming between the red and yellow flags, supervising children and monitoring their alcohol consumption.


“With the behavior we’ve seen from some people over the past few days, that worries us,” Treloar told reporters on New Year’s Eve, when the temperature in Melbourne was expected to hit 29 degrees.

“Don’t drink and drown … We know people go out and have drinks [on Saturday night] for New Year’s Eve.

“We really want to make sure people are judging, ‘I’ve had a few drinks, do I need to go in the water?’; “It’s getting late, it’s getting dark now, do I have to go into the water?”; ‘Where are the kids?'”

Victoria suffered the highest number of fatal drownings in 18 years over the Christmas period, with four fatalities between Christmas Day and December 28, when rescue efforts also more than doubled.

About 400,000 people visited patrolled beaches over the Christmas weekend, Treloar said.

He said any waterway can be dangerous and anyone can drown, with middle-aged men – the people who consider themselves expert swimmers – being the cohort most likely to drown.

Twenty-two people have drowned in Victoria since July 1, and as of November 12, 232 people have been rescued so far this season. More than half of those rescues have taken place since Christmas Day.

The four people who died between Christmas and December 28 were two teenagers, a five-year-old girl and a middle-aged man.

Among the fatalities was 12th grader Nick Maan from Pakenham. He was pulled unresponsive from the water on a Mordialloc beach around 4pm on Boxing Day.

Treloar said the 17-year-old boy was washed off a sandbar and could not be revived after rescuers found him.

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