Visiting UK men pulled from rip at Seven Mile Beach

Alan Baxter-Piggford and Toby Melville-Brown are lucky to tell their story after they were rescued from the water at Seven Mile Beach on Friday.

The two men were dragged 200 metres offshore after being caught in rip between Shoalhaven Heads and Gerroa.

Emergency services responded to a call at approximately 2.30pm.

“We discovered two people about 200 metres offshore unable to get themselves back,” said Shoalhaven LAC acting Inspector Ian Griffin.

“One appeared to be assisting the other.

“A local surfer was here on the beach and we got him to take his board out to provide support, until the resources arrived. A helicopter maintained coverage above while the lifeguards from Kiama came and brought both swimmers back on the board.”  

It is understood the alarm was raised when a young girl walking on the beach with her father noticed the two men in distress.

The two men were part of a crew filming a UK cooking show in Australia.

We couldn’t get back, we were swimming and swimming and swimming and the more we swam the further out we went.

Alan Baxter-Piggford

After filming had finished earlier in the day, the two decided to have a quick dip, not suspecting the surf was so dangerous.

“We went for a swim and got caught in the rip, we were just getting dragged further and further away,” Mr Baxter-Piggford said.

“We couldn’t get back, we were swimming and swimming and swimming and the more we swam the further out we went. 

“Then we tried to tread water. Toby looked after me really well and we supported each other. Luckily a guy called Luke came out to us on the board and helped us.

“Then another man came out and then the helicopter arrived. It was really quite cold with the helicopter, we were starting to get a bit hypothermic.”

He said the water was not warm.

Our rescuers were absolutely fantastic - just brilliant.

Alan Baxter-Piggford

“I was just thinking, stay afloat, save energy and make sure Toby was okay, and he did the same for me,” Mr Baxter-Piggford said.

“We could see the people on the beach were gathering, they would get closer and then they would get further away.

“Every time a wave brought us in we thought we were getting closer, then we were rushed back out. I was starting to get a bit worried.

“Our rescuers were absolutely fantastic, they were just brilliant. Without all the people who came to help us, the outcome could have been slightly different I think.”