UPDATE:TWO tourists owe their lives to the actions of a couple enjoying an ice-cream at Elliott Heads yesterday afternoon.
The male and female, thought to be in their mid-20s, became caught in a rip in the mouth of the river at low tide and were swept about 500 metres out to sea where bystanders could hear them screaming for help.
It is the second incident at the beach in two days.
On Monday a 16-year-old and 36-year-old were rescued by a stand-up paddleboarder after becoming caught in a rip at the popular swimming spot.
The pair was able to use the tractor tyres they had with them as floatation devices but the incidents have prompted a warning from lifeguards to take precautions in unpatrolled areas.
Off-duty lifeguard Fletcher Ericson was at home studying for his Certificate II and III in Fitness and Personal Training when he got the call that the Korean and German nationals were in trouble.
He raced to the scene to find Mick Gray and another man, thought be from the nearby caravan park, already swimming out to help.
It was Mick's wife, Sherylea Jones, who first noticed the couple were in trouble.
"I saw two people messing about in the neck of the river and I said to hubby, 'I think they're in trouble'," Sherylea said.
She ran around trying to find someone who could help before a council worker suggested she use the emergency phone to call for help.
"By the time I had done that, I looked out and they were waving for help," she said.
"Their heads kept going under."
It is thought the female was an able swimmer and was trying to keep her friend afloat but became fatigued.
Thanks to the efforts of the three responders, the couple was brought safely back to shore where they were treated by paramedics.
The woman was checked over at he scene, while her friend was transported to hospital for chest x-rays as a precaution.
Fletcher said the two owed their lives to the actions of Mick and Sherylea.
"The Korean guy was going under. His head was nodding. It was touch and go," he said.
"It's just lucky there were people here at the time.
"The adrenalin is going and that fear takes over ... it's pretty nerve-wracking. Particularly with those moments, you can't stuff around."
Fletcher said the two incidents were a reminder to swimmers to be vigilant.
"I think people need to be more aware. It looks safe but they don't understand the danger of flat water."
EARLIER: THE actions of Sherylea Jones may well have saved the lives of two swimmer at Elliott Heads today.
Mrs Jones was eating ice cream just before 1pm with her family when she noticed two people in the mouth of river.
"All of a sudden they were drifting out," she said.
"At first we were a bit skeptical.
"But they kept going further and further out."
Mrs Jones ran around to try to find people to help but was not able to find anyone.
She then ran to the surf life saving phone and called for help.
"By the time I had done that I looked out and they were waving for help," she said.
"I rang 000 because their heads kept going under."
Mrs Jones's husband and two other members of the public swam out to help.
A surf lifesaver then arrived and helped them to shore.
"She went out with a board and the boys had already started to grab them," Mrs Jones said.
"She helped them in and the ambulances were already here."
EARLIER: Two people have been swept out to sea at Elliott Heads.
The NewsMail believes an off-duty paramedic has swum out to help the pair.
They may have been swept out up to a kilometre off the shore at the popular beach.
More to come.