A woman, 21, who nearly drowned when she was caught in a rip at Elouera beach at nightfall, owes her life to a couple who pulled her from the water and gave treatment on the beach.
Nathan Sutcliffe, 25, a PE teacher of Fairy Meadow, and Madison Larsen, 20, a former council lifeguard of Cronulla, were on the beach near the end of the Prince Street seawall about 8.30pm on Sunday, January 10 when they heard screams.
"It was dark, but we could see this woman in the water and she was being pulled out by a strong current," Ms Larsen said.
"We saw her family going to her assistance, but then we realised they couldn't swim.
"Nathan legged it down the beach and swam out to the woman, who by this time was about 70 metres from shore.
"She was barely conscious and another 10 seconds would probably have been too late.
"The water was too deep to stand, so Nathan put the woman on his shoulder and started swimming in.
"I met him at the shoreline and we took her up on to the beach, placed her in the recovery position, checked her vitals and wrapped towels around her to keep her warm.
"She was in shock and coughed up water, but we got her talking and began hydrating her."
Ms Larsen said the woman, who was from Parramatta, told them she couldn't swim.
She and her family had expressed their deep gratitude.
Meanwhile Surf Life Saving Sydney has given its Rescue of the Month award to Wanda club member Lachlan (Lachie) Crawford, 20, who while off duty, saved a woman and man between Elouera and Wanda beaches on December 27.
Two surfers assisted near shore before the woman was treated on the beach and taken by ambulance to hospital.
"Assistance was also given by members of Elouera SLSC roving patrol, RWC operator Kane Hughes and Cameron Pyett and Jon Hayman, Sutherland Shire Lifeguards," a SLS Sydney statement said.
"A nomination for this month was also received from North Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club for nine-year-old Maxwell Hawkins, who performed a rescue at 1.30 pm on this same day north of North Cronulla while he was out paddling his board. Maxwell assisted a lady to shore who was in distress in a rip."
Lifesavers carried out 40 rescues along the Bate Bay beaches that day.