HERO: Rainbow Beach Lifeguard James Cervi came to the rescue of a young woman in the savage swells at Noosa over the weekend.
HERO: Rainbow Beach Lifeguard James Cervi came to the rescue of a young woman in the savage swells at Noosa over the weekend.

Hero lifeguard pulls off miracle rescue

A Rainbow Beach lifeguard executed a stunning rescue in Noosa yesterday afternoon when he pulled a young woman from the water at Tea Tree Bay.

James Cervi was off-duty when he noticed the woman and her father get washed into the "soup bowl" near Dolphin Point after falling off their Jet Ski in the peaking afternoon swell.

The 26-year-old said the rescue was the "craziest experience" he'd ever been through.

"All week I'd actually been feeling pretty uneasy, as if something was going to happen," he said.

"When I saw them fall in I radioed the coast guard and got my mate to drop me as close to the rocks as possible.

"The man had managed to get himself to safety on the rocks, and I got to the girl and just tried to make her feel comfortable and tell her it would be ok.

"With the peaking swell and the high tide coming in, there were a few things working against us.

"There was a moment when it got pretty scary, the Ski was getting thrown towards us and I felt it brush my shoulder.

"The whole thing lasted about 20 minutes, but it didn't feel like it was going to end."

Beaches all over Australian coastlines were dangerous over the weekend after Tropical Cyclone Gita sent powerful swells to the south-east coast.

Rainbow Beach and Noosa experienced peak waves measuring 6-8ft, while surfers flocked to Double Island Point for calmer levels of 2-3ft.

Mr Cervi said he experienced "about 10 seconds of doubt" during the rescue before reminding himself to stay positive.

"In that situation, more negativity causes bad things to happen," he said.

"I'm pretty comfortable in the bigger surf, so I just told myself to stay calm and told the girl we'd get through it together."

The woman remained in good spirits after the rescue but was taken to hospital after ingesting a large amount of water.

Both victims were very thankful for Mr Cervi's efforts.

Mr Cervi said he wasn't affected by the ordeal, but stopped short of calling himself a hero.

"I'm still the same now.

"I did put my own life at risk, but a lot of people I work with would have done the same thing.

"Everyone's well now, so it's a good outcome."

While no incidents were reported at Rainbow Beach, 15 people were rescued at Noosa Main Beach after ignoring warnings of treacherous conditions.

The beach was later closed as conditions were expected to worsen.

At Dicky Beach, a body-boarder was found 300m offshore after beachgoers alerted police.

The 30-year-old man was located by a rescue helicopter and brought back to safety despite sustaining injuries after being smashed against rocks.

Gympie Times


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