Phillip Island drownings prompt warnings about Victoria’s Woolamai Beach



December 25, 2018 09:35:23

Lifesavers are urging people to follow warnings and stay out of dangerous waters after two men drowned in surf south-east of Melbourne, and a boy was taken to hospital.

Emergency services were called to reports of three males in distress while swimming off Phillip Island about 5:30pm on Christmas Eve.

A 45-year-old man was pulled from the water at Woolamai Beach in Newhaven but could not be revived by paramedics.

The police airwing was called in to help locate a 20-year-old man, who was found in the water by lifesavers from Woolamai Beach Surf Lifesaving Club (SLSC) and died at the scene.

Both men were from Cranbourne East, in Melbourne’s south-east.

“Our thoughts are with the family members of those who have passed away and those still receiving treatment,” Woolamai Beach SLSC said on Facebook.

“Our thoughts are also with our members at this time.”

A 12-year-old boy was able to swim to shore.

Lifesaving Victoria state duty officer Kane Treloar said the conditions at the beach were challenging.

“Our volunteers at Woolamai Beach have done a tremendous job in some really challenging conditions,” he said.

‘We’ll continue to work across the summer to keep everyone safe and to do our best to make sure everyone who goes to the beach comes home again.”

The area is known for being dangerous, and lifesavers warned swimmers to watch out for rips after two drownings in a week this time last year.

The Woolamai Beach SLSC re-issued a warning to avoid the area, saying conditions were too dangerous and volunteers were not patrolling.

Lifesavers brace for heatwave

Lifesaving Victoria is preparing for a busy week, with a scorching heatwave forecast across the state beginning on Boxing Day.

“My advice to people as they’re heading down the beach over the next couple of days as it’s warming up is to check the conditions before you’re going, always take someone with you and, where possible, swim between the flags,” Mr Treloar said.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting five days over 40C at Mildura, in the state’s north-west, when the heatwave hits.

The southern half of the state will be a few degrees cooler, with Melbourne expected to reach the mid-30s by Thursday.

Senior forecaster Beren Bradshaw said Mildura was expected to reach 45 degrees on Friday.

“The warm weather does stick around the state across the next few days and well into the weekend,” Ms Bradshaw said.

“The northern half of the state will be seeing heatwave conditions with maximum temps over the next few days getting above 40 degrees and into the mid-40s well into the weekend.”

Police are continuing to investigate the drownings.





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