Man dies after trying to save women struggling in water at Waitpinga Beach

A man who went to the aid of two women struggling in water off Waitpinga Beach before getting caught himself has died. Photo: File.
A man who went to the aid of two women struggling in water off Waitpinga Beach before getting caught himself has died. Photo: File.

A man who went to the aid of two women struggling in water off Waitpinga Beach before getting caught himself has tragically died.

Emergency services were called to the beach about 5.10pm on Saturday, January 15, when two women were reportedly experiencing difficulty in the water.

A man related to the women, along with other people on the beach, went out to bring them to safety.

But the man, a 71-year-old from Adelaide's western suburbs, also began to struggle and needed help.

He was brought to shore and members of the public, paramedics, and police began administering first aid and CPR.

Despite their best efforts to revive him, sadly he could not be saved.

"Local police sincerely thank several members of the public who assisted in the water rescues and provided first aid and CPR on the beach until they were relieved by police officers and then paramedics," SA Police said in a statement.

Victor Harbor police and detectives have collated information from witnesses, and will prepare a report for the coroner.

The two women who were rescued were transported to South Coast District Hospital to be checked over.

"The public are urged to take extra care in the water and swim to the conditions and within their ability, particularly when swimming at remote and unsupervised beaches," SA Police said.

Surf Life Saving SA Lifesaving and Emergency Operations Manager Daniel Willetts said beaches along the Fleurieu Peninsula, like Waitpinga Beach, were some of the most hazardous beaches in the state due to the persistent high waves and rips.

"We would not recommend swimming in these areas. This is an extremely difficult time for the family involved and we want this tragic incident to serve as a reminder of the dangers of the South Australian coastline," Mr Willetts said.

There have been four coastal drownings along the south coast since the start of December.

"We are reminding South Australians that if you don't know what a rip looks like, visit our Beachsafe App and if you have any doubts about swimming conditions speak to a lifesaver or look at coastal signage for any coastal hazards," he said.

"Anyone can join one of our 21 metro and regional clubs to learn basic lifesaving skills or undertake a basic CPR course through Surf Life Saving SA."

Safety Messages

Swim between the flags - Surf Lifesavers and lifeguards set up patrolled areas so they can best look after you, if you are not swimming at these locations then the time to get to you could make a big difference and cost you your life.

STOP, LOOK, PLAN - (Stop - pause and see where you are. Can you see a rip or other danger | Look - are there other hazards, are there large waves or rocks, can I see if there is a patrolled area? | Plan - where am I going, is it patrolled? Do I know how to recognise dangers? What will I do if something goes wrong?)

Know your limits - No-one plans to get into trouble, but it happens too often. Know your limits and those of others you are with. Too often, someone has gone to rescue someone else and it has cost them their life. if someone is in danger, make you sure you have something that floats to throw to them or assist them with in a rescue

Supervise children around water - children move quicker than we would like and a drowning event is often a quiet one. Watch your children on, in and around water - not your phone!

Think before you drink - Almost a quarter of all coastal drowning deaths involved alcohol and/or drugs.

Wear a lifejacket - If you are heading out boating, rock fishing or on watercraft - then please wear a lifejacket. Your safety matters.

Aquatic Toys - be careful with new equipment, test it, make sure it is in good repair, check conditions before heading out, supervise kids on flotation devices. Rafts and inner tube - Not for non-swimmers, may drift out on tides/winds. Skimboards - Trickier than they seem, often lead to nasty injuries. Ocean craft such as SUP, Kayaks and Surf Skis should always be used for the first time in calm conditions at a patrolled beach.