Lifesavers and lifeguards honoured for mass rescue at North Cronulla beach

The heroes of the mass rescue at North Cronulla beach early this year have been honoured at a ceremony in Parliament House, Canberra.

More than a dozen surf lifesavers and lifeguards from NSW Victoria and Queensland received Surf Life Saving Australia's National Rescue of the Month (NROM) awards for the months of January to June.

The awards recognise "incredible and courageous acts of service in saving lives".

The February, 2019 award was shared by the North Cronulla lifesavers, council lifeguards and lifesavers from other clubs who were attending a carnival at Wanda and came to assist.

Among those present to receive the award were Geoff Budd, Mark Richardson, Charlie Winkelmeier, Ryan McGrath, Kyan Winn, Joel Wiseman and Brett Richardson.

More than 35 lifesavers and lifeguards responded when a sandbank at North Cronulla beach collapsed on Sunday, February 17, causing more than 50 swimmers to be washed into deeper water.

"The patrol tower radioed the on-beach patrol, who then dropped the patrol flags and closed the beach to enact a mass rescue," the gathering was told.

"Both off duty and on duty members of North Cronulla SLSC and Sutherland Shire Council Lifeguards implemented the mass rescue using 12 rescue boards, six rescue tubes and one Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB).

"Further support arrived quickly from the nearby ASRL Boat Carnival where members from Sutherland Shire Council, Elouera SLSC, Maroubra SLSC, Cronulla SLSC and Sydney Branch provided water safety.

"These services included additional lifeguards, lifesavers, IRBs and Rescue Watercrafts (RWCs) to rescue patients.

"Despite the colossal scope of the incident all swimmers were rescued in only slightly over ten minutes.

"This amazingly coordinated cooperative effort resulted in over 50 people being rescued with no further injuries needing treatment."

NROM award recipients came from as far away as North Stradbroke Island in Queensland and Fairhaven on Victoria's Great Ocean Road.

The ceremony was attended by many MPs, including co-chairs of Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving, Jason Falinksi and Matt Thistlethwaite.