A woman and her teenage son were rescued by three off-duty surf lifeguards at East End beach yesterday.
The incident happened about 2.45pm, when a mother swam out to help her son, who was caught in a rip at the New Plymouth beach.
The pair were then swept further out by the rip and were unable to get back to shore, head regional lifeguard Joe Bracegirdle, who spotted them, said. "I saw her raise her arm so I got a board and went out with a couple of younger lifeguards," the 20-year-old said.
He said he had only done one rescue in the current season, which began on November 23 and will end next Friday.
Lifesaving New Zealand club development officer Andy Cronin said with patrols winding down for the season the pair were lucky there was someone there to help them out.
"It's good that the mum had the sense of mind to signal for help," Mr Cronin said.
"They were quite tired when they came back in, but they hadn't swallowed any water," Mr Cronin said.
"It's just fortunate that the lifeguards were at the beach."
Mr Bracegirdle said he had headed down to have a look at the beach before his shift started at 3.30pm. He said swimmers needed to be aware of rips and learn to recognise them, especially if they were at an unpatrolled beach.
"The best advice is if in doubt, stay out," he said.
East End Beach, as well as Fitzroy and Oakura, will be patrolled from 4.30pm to 7.30pm Monday to Friday next week, and 1pm to 5pm at the weekends.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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