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  • Northern Beaches Pool Lifeguards

    L-R: Scott Riddington, Ellie Gobee, Natalie Kent, Zoe Carley, Ella Alcock

Friday, 1 November 2019

A team of five Northern Beaches Council lifeguards and other Council staff have put their training and skills to work in saving the life of an elderly man who suffered a seizure in the Manly Andrew “Boy” Charlton Aquatic Centre (MABCAC) last week.

Led by senior lifeguard Scott Riddington, who has been a lifeguard for 35 years and has been involved in 30 life and death rescues, a team of lifeguards and other staff did exactly what their training had taught them.

20 seconds after being alerted to the swimmer in trouble, Scott and fellow lifeguard Natalie Kent were pulling the man out of the pool. This was only 40 seconds after the man’s seizure started. Scott then raised the alarm via a radio and triple-0 was called.

Meanwhile, junior members of the team prepared medical equipment including oxygen and a defibrillator. Ellie Gobee, 19, began CPR and Ella Alcock, 18, set up the defibrillator. Another junior lifeguard Zoe Carley, 19, gave the man oxygen, with assistance from Natalie.

While the rescue and resuscitation was going on, an estimated 150 people were also being evacuated from the pool including two groups of school children.

After the rescue was complete and the aquatic centre resumed activity, the team debriefed.

“After watching the real-life CCTV footage all staff members involved believed that the teamwork and training by all MABCAC staff proved to be critical in saving this man’s life,” Scott said.

He is full of praise to those who assisted on the day. The swimmer who raised the alarm was a trainee doctor and held the man’s head out of the water until help arrived. This person also helped administering oxygen once the man was out of the water.

Paramedics arrived under six minutes and put the man in an induced coma as he was suffering a series of seizures. Police arrived quickly too, meeting the CareFlight helicopter and doctors who were not required, and then escorted the ambulance to Royal North Shore Hospital.

Scott praised the crew involved.

“Having been involved and experiencing my first resuscitation at 18 years of age I know how traumatic and emotional this incident can be for the younger staff involved,” he said.

No stranger to dramatic rescues, Scott has been nominated for a Pride of Australia award for saving multiple lives in the community and for guiding the next generation of lifeguards.

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