When an ordinary weekday at Bondi Beach turned into one of its darkest, lifeguards and beachgoers alike were left reeling.
“What I saw I’ll never forget,” lifeguard Trent Falson said of the moment he came over a wave and faced two Norwegian tourists floating unconscious in the sea.
“There were two patients face down in the water and third patient that was needing rescue urgently.”
Falson was speaking The Project before tonight’s episode of Bondi Rescue, which featured the most serious rescue on the Sydney beach in 70 years, and certainly in the show’s history.
Tragically, one man drowned and a woman was hospitalised in a critical condition, despite the desperate attempts of the lifeguards who carried them unconscious to the shore.
Lifeguard Corey Oliver took the man on his board, while Falson was tasked with carrying his swimming companion.
"I was so fearful of what was going on. Holding only to an unconscious patient in surf is one of the hardest things you can do as a lifeguard. I just had this moment when I thought this was as bad as it gets," he told The Project panel.
The woman left the beach with paramedics and a pulse, but Falson had no idea if she'd survived, until she returned to thank him days later.
"There were paramedics that I know that said don't go and see her because she was starved of oxygen to the brain for so long that there might be permanent damage.
"What I saw, I'll never forget." Bondi lifeguard Trent speaks about the toughest day on the job.
Posted by The Project on Tuesday, 25 April 2017
"Then two or three days later I got a call from the life guard tower saying you better come down here, and I'll never forget opening the door and seeing her face there.
"We gave each other a big hug and for I reckon about 30 seconds there we just stared into each other's eyes and she was just saying, 'Thank you, I'm so thankful that you didn't give up on me'.
"Things like that, they're priceless moments. I'll never forget that."
The has episode resonated with the audience, many of whom expressed their gratitude to the Bondi Rescue team on Twitter.
Those who missed it can catch up on the Ten Play website.
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