For many of us, last night was just an average weeknight in mid-February.
Not particularly hot or remarkable, it was just another day.
But for one Victorian family, an innocent outing to the beach unexpectedly turned into a tragedy beyond belief.
A heroic 13-year-old girl lost her life after rushing into the water to help her 11-year-old brother, who was struggling at a beach near Wonthaggi in South Gippsland.
The boy got into trouble in rough water at Williamson’s Beach shortly after 8pm, Victoria Police say.
The father of the children also tried to help.
— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) February 11, 2016
A police spokeswoman said the boy was saved, but the teenager died, the ABC reports.
“Whilst the boy was saved and received only minor injuries requiring hospitalisation, the young girl also got into trouble and consequently died despite efforts by her family, police and ambulance officers trying to save her,” she said.
Emergency service workers tried to revive the girl, who was pulled from the water unconscious, for more than an hour.
Her brother was taken to the Monash Medical Centre with minor injuries.
Watch a Sky News report for more information (post continues after video):
Wonthaggi police Sergeant Glenn Birt told Fairfax Media the teenager’s death at the popular fishing and surfing spot, where locals often swim despite the strong undertow, would be felt across the community.
Life Saving Victoria spokesman Paul Shannon said the unpatrolled beach was “extremely hazardous”.
“It’s a straight-out tragedy that’s happened to a family that’s probably gone down to have a fun day at the beach,” Mr Shannon told 3AW.
“Our hearts just go out to this poor family who have lost a child and have another one in hospital.”
He said six more people have died in the state’s oceans so far this summer than last.
“We need people to respect the ocean. If you are going to attend a non-patrolled beach area you need to have a safety plan in place that’s going to make your day at the beach a bit more safe.”
Police are preparing a report for the coroner.
*Featured image of Williamsons Beach via Dalysporter/Wikimedia.