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Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Page: 1156

Mr MORRISON (1:48 PM) —On Friday January 21, youth leaders at Shirelive church in Sutherland showed incredible bravery and leadership when more than 40 of the teenagers under their care were suddenly swept out to sea after a sandbank fell at Stanwell Park Beach. Members of the youth group, who had been enjoying themselves in shallow water, suddenly found themselves struggling far from the shore, pounded by big waves. A number of the youth leaders helped surf-lifesavers pull dozens of teenagers from the water. Shirelive Youth Pastor Tim Biasetto, 24, and volunteer youth leaders Alex Vance, Jason Burns and Kerry Lauricella were among those heavily involved in the rescues.

Mr Biasetto also pulled a 20-year-old man from Cabramatta to the shore. The man was not breathing, but Mr Biasetto and a surf-lifesaver took turns at doing CPR until the man revived. He was taken to hospital and has since been discharged. Mr Biasetto met the man a fortnight ago at Stanwell Park Beach, where the rescued man was able to thank Mr Biasetto personally for rescuing him. Sadly, a 63-year-old man on holiday with his family from Western Australia drowned in the incident. Many of the youth leaders involved, including Mr Biasetto and Miss Vance, had undergone first-aid training, which made a big difference on that day. Miss Vance was last month announced as the Sutherland Shire’s Young Citizen of the Year for her tireless work as a youth leader and also as a volunteer surf-lifesaver.

As we come to the close soon of the summer season, I would like to ask all members to join me in thanking our surf-lifesavers for the great work they do in this country. I thank them for patrolling our beaches and looking after all of us.