STRONG winds brought along by Saturday afternoon’s cool change caught hundreds of beach goers unawares across Inverloch’s beaches.
Winds picked up significantly close to 5pm, leaving many people stranded on the sandbar in, or being pushed down towards, Anderson Inlet.
Volunteer lifesavers in Anderson Inlet were forced to rescue 10 people from the water.
Saturday saw peak numbers of visitors to the Bass Coast beaches as the temperature soared into the high 30s.
Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club had solid numbers of patrol volunteers and after setting up their main beach patrol at the Surf Beach, as well as outposts at Anderson Inlet near the Angling Club, the caravan parks and another near the RACV resort.
Tristan Blizzard from the Inverloch SLSC described Anderson Inlet as ‘dead flat’ before a strong wind change came through at 4.45pm.
“Water and weather conditions changed quickly and a large number of people become stuck on a sandbar and faced with swimming back to shore,” Tristan said.
“The water became quite choppy and whilst some people swum back to shore, the lifesavers swung into action performing a mass rescue of 10 people with four adults and six children.
“Two children about five years of age were struggling in the water and I had to lean down with my arm well into the water to pluck them out and onto the board. I am just glad we were there so that we could avert a possible mass tragedy.”
Tristan, on the rescue board, was patrolling along with Kat Ellis, who swum with a rescue tube and Julian Walker.
Another off duty patrol member, Nick Thomas, also assisted with another rescue tube.
A lost child earlier in the afternoon at the Inverloch Surf Beach saw the patrol search the water with the IRB boat several times as other patrol members searched the beach.
The child was later discovered safe and well after being swept along the beach with the current. He had walked along one of the access tracks and back through the car park to reach the main surf beach.
The Inverloch SLSC said that it was a timely reminder for all families enjoying the beach to be mindful of water and weather conditions.
You should always swim with a buddy and if possible ‘swim between the flags.’