Nicole Mason, left, of Grafton, with Jaymee, 8, and Bayley, 5, and Margaret and Andrew Cameron, of South Grafton, with Amy, 9,
Nicole Mason, left, of Grafton, with Jaymee, 8, and Bayley, 5, and Margaret and Andrew Cameron, of South Grafton, with Amy, 9,

How a day at the beach almost ended in tragedy

By JULIA ILES

ANDREW Cameron's mind was not on whether he lived or died.

He just wanted his nine-yearold daughter to survive the rip she was caught in.

"I just kept trying to push her head up, sometimes I sank down and fell to the bottom, the water was about eight feet deep and I am six foot two, I was just saying 'for f---'s sake Amy, keep your head above the water'," Mr Cameron, of South Grafton, said.

"I didn't think I would make it, I was so exhausted that I said to my wife Marg who went out first, just let me go, I can't go on. Without Marg I don't think I would have been here today."

Wednesday's Daily Examiner carried a report about a rescue which occurred off the northern end of Minnie Water Beach on Sunday after two young girls were pulled into a rip.

"He (Mr Cameron) was panicking and was no help at all, I just sank my finger nails into him and pulled him in," Margaret Cameron said. "When the girls were pulled out to sea Amy locked arms with Jaymee ? a family friend who is younger than her, only about eight. I swam out after them and Andrew jumped in too."

The Camerons were enjoying a day trip to Minnie Water with their family friend Nicole Mason and her two children, Jaymee and Bayley, before the incident occurred.

Ms Mason wanted to help with the rescue, but was persuaded to stay on the beach by passerby Rosita Lawlor, whose husband Darrell swam out to help.

The Camerons wanted to pass on their thanks to the people who assisted in the rescue.

"Darrell was just amazing, him and Marg saved my life, and the two women Debbie and Rosita helped too, there was also another man who had a Malibu board and was waiting to come out if we needed him," Mr Cameron said. "Something urgently needs to be done, signs should be put up, we have swum at Minnie Water lots of time, but I have never experienced anything so strong."

Amy Cameron, who started school on Wednesday, will miss her swimming carnival and is not confident about returning to the beach.

"I don't know if I will ever go in the water again, as I sometimes think about it (the inci- dent)," the nine-year-old said.



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