News

Birthday celebrations end in tragedy for surfer's family

TRAGEDY: Turners beach drowning victim Ken McLean, with his partner Michele (left) and sister Rhonda Shone.
TRAGEDY: Turners beach drowning victim Ken McLean, with his partner Michele (left) and sister Rhonda Shone.

A LISMORE surfer who drowned at Turners Beach was on a week-long holiday in Yamba to celebrate his birthday.

Ken McLean paddled out into the surf on Wednesday afternoon after a seafood lunch on his 54th birthday, while his partner and family members relaxed on the beach.

Clarence Valley lifeguard supervisor Greg Wyllie said he was surfing in one to two foot waves when he was presumably hit in the head by his board, and was found floating in the water by nearby boardriders about 3.50pm.

"He was surfing on his own within 20 metres of three other surfers and at some stage he caught a wave and fell off his board and the board hit him in the bridge of the nose," Mr Wyllie said.

"The three surfers and a lifeguard all responded in a synchronised manner to the man, who was face down in the water, within two minutes, and brought him to shore unconscious."

His sister Rhonda Shone, who was on the beach at the time, said it all happened extremely quickly.

"I had just walked out of the surf and saw Ken on his board, and then I saw people running down there, and thought something big must have happened," she said.

"Then I saw it was him."

Despite the best efforts of the lifeguard on duty and two off-duty paramedics who attempted to resuscitate him using CPR and a defibrillator, Mr McLean could not be revived and was pronounced dead in the ambulance at 4.35pm.

Ms Shone said she and her brother had both grown up in the water, and that he was a keen "surfer, fisherman; anything to do with the water".

"The worst part about this is Ken's partner, her first husband drowned too," she said.

Mr McLean's death is the first confirmed drowning on a patrolled Clarence Valley beach in more than 18 years.

"I just want to say thank you to everyone who assisted, from the surf lifesavers and off-duty paramedics to the girls who brought him in," Ms Shone said.

"There were too many names to remember but everyone was just amazing and it's greatly appreciated by the family.

"Whoever is reading this, we would like them to make a donation to the Surf Life Saving Club, even if it's just $2. It could save someone's life."

Mr Wyllie also commended the actions of the lifeguard on patrol for her professional conduct and dedicated efforts to save Mr Mclean, who worked in Yamba on and off for the past couple of years.

"The actions of the life guard on yesterday were highly commendable, and it was a quick response by lifeguard and surfers within paddling distance, who both got to the patient at the same time. The team that we have on hand here do an outstanding job and do work well under pressure."

Topics:  drowning editors picks lismore turners beach yamba



Hello? Hello?! Mobile outage left users offline for hours

Some customers were left on hold of up to 40 minutes.

Caroona evacuated after microwave fire

About 30 residents evacuated after unusual smell triggered alarm

"Eco-cretins" sabotage shark nets, risk swimmers' lives

A blacktip shark caught in a shark net at the end of last year.

Since 2015, there have been 22 shark attacks in New South Wales.

Local Partners

Book 'em, kiddo: Sale attracts bumper crowd

Whoever said books were passe would eat those words if they were at the Maclean Bowling Club on Saturday.


Artist program to link to gallery theme

VALUABLE STINT: Indigenous artist Karla Dickens at work in Grafton Regional Gallery's studio during her 2010 artist's residency.

Gallery encouraging indigenous artists to take up residency offer

See the historical heritage horses

OPEN DAY: Enjoy a day out learning or finding your next dream horse from the Guy Fawkes River National Park.

Guy Fawkes Heritage Horse Association Inc. open day.

7 things to do this weekend

The Maclean Rotary Book Sale is on this weekend and always attracts a big crowd of buyers.

Great places to spend some time

Fresh faces: NCIS gets a shake up with new cast members

The new cast of NCIS, from left, Rocky Carroll, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, David McCallum, Brian Dietzen, Wilmer Valderrama, Emily Wickersham, Mark Harmon, Duane Henry and Jennifer Esposito.

THREE new characters join naval drama for season 14.

First the Onesie, now an Xbox One S inflatable controller

Fancy an inflatable Xbox One S controller?

Inflatable controller 'perfect sidekick' for Australia Day party

Sarah Harris: Here’s what Amber Sherlock should’ve done

Studio 10 and Shark Tank presenter Sarah Harris.

STUDIO 10 host says Sherlock could’ve avoided the subsequent uproar.

Amber Heard 'smitten' with Elon Musk

Amber Heard

ACTRESS is reportedly excited about going public with new boyfriend

Garden piece wins people's choice gong

PEOPLE'S FAVOURITE: 2016 JADA finalist Jane Grealy with her drawing Maria's Garden From The Back, which proved the most popular with gallery visitors during the exhibition.

Gallery visitors have their say on artworks

New doco argues ‘OJ Simpson is innocent, and I can prove it’

O.J. Simpson

NEW documentary series claims to have found “missing evidence".

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

INTERACTIVE MAP: Which Northern Rivers towns boomed in 2016?

BOOM TOWNS: While Ballina properties continued to attract top dollar in 2016, it was areas to the south that experienced price hikes, including Wardell, Evans Head and Woodburn.

Click on our map to find the median sale price in your town

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!