Man rescued from a rip at Twilight Cove in Esperance

Brave actions saved the life of a drowning tourist, who had begun to sink into the ocean after he was caught in a rip current at Twilight Cove.

Around 4:30pm on Sunday March 4, 2018, American tourist Martin Cooke was swimming when he spotted a man waving in distress.

“I saw a guy waving and at first I thought he was just having fun, waving at somebody else, but then I noticed that a guy a little distance from him was signalling all kinds of trouble,” Mr Cooke said.

“So I swam out to that guy as quick as I could, and by the time I got out to him he was under, so I just grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him above the water.

“He was so exhausted, I grabbed his arm around my neck, like in a choke hold, and turned him over onto his back.

“He just went completely limp, I don’t think he was conscious and I got under him and pulled him in.”

When Mr Cooke swam to the shore, three of the victim’s friends helped him attend to the man.

“I still wasn't sure if he was conscious, but then we got him onto the beach and he started coughing.

“He was in pretty bad shape, he was vomiting and it looked like he was having difficulty breathing.

“I rolled him over on his side so he could spit up some of the water.”

Mr Cooke said he felt extremely lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.

Nurse Tanya Coffey, who was visiting the beach, spoke with emergency services over the phone and monitored the patient’s breathing until the ambulance arrived.

“We were on the beach, as tourists, and had been swimming and my partner and I saw a group and from a distance it just didn’t look right,” she said.

“My partner grabbed the phone and initiated the call to 000 and then I took over.

“I had to perform an assessment on his breathing for the 000 service.

“I stayed with him to make sure he was alright.

“He didn’t go unconscious but he was losing consciousness, so I had to make sure he was still responding and still breathing.”

Ms Coffey said the response of the local emergency services was excellent.

“It was a good combined effort, we were super impressed with how quickly the local services responded and how professional they were.

“I used to be in that field and I know that it’s not easy to manage, and they actually handled it beautifully.”

St John Ambulance community paramedic Paul Gaughan said a call was made to 000 at 4:37pm and he arrived on the scene at 4:45pm.

Mr Gaughan said the ambulance took the patient, who was estimated to be in his late twenties, to Esperance Hospital for further observation.

“He had a bit of salt water in his lungs and was coughing a fair bit, he was very cold and fatigued from swimming in the rip.

“We’re expecting him to make a full recovery.” 

Rescuer, Martin Cooke is the husband of visiting US Consul General Rachel Cooke.

“She’s out here for work and I just came out to join her and to enjoy some of the beaches,” Mr Cooke said.

The near drowning at Twilight Cove occurred just weeks after a similar incident at West Beach.