Rescuer upset at 'twat' reply

Noosa lifeguard tower.
Noosa lifeguard tower. Warren Lynam/SCN070211STING

A TOURIST has apologised for assaulting a surf lifesaver and says he hopes to avoid being charged over the clash. The man, who is on a working visa in Australia, said he was provoked by two young volunteer lifesavers at Noosa on Sunday after he rescued a struggling Korean swimmer.

The man accused the lifesavers of not paying attention to the struggling swimmer outside of the flagged area.

He said he was "livid" when he approached the two lifesavers on duty and swore at them repeatedly, telling them "they weren't fit to be doing their jobs".

"When one of them started smiling I ripped in some more," he said.

He wanted to speak to their boss and was told to go to the main tower.

"After a parting shot from me I left the tower only to reach the top step when I heard one of (the young surf lifesavers) call me a twat," the man said.

"I walked back in and pushed him against the wall and told him in no uncertain terms never to call someone who just saved someone's life a twat."

The alleged assault was reported to police on Monday, who have spoken to the man as part of their investigation.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous when he contacted the Daily, said he hoped charges would not be laid because it could jeopardise his work visa.

He has given his number to police and said he will co-operate if they ask him for an official interview.

Senior Constable Nic van der Waat of the Hastings St Police Beat said officers would take statements from other witnesses before deciding if they would lay charges against the man.

The attack has shocked surf lifesaving officials who have condemned the man's actions.

"It's disappointing that an incident has taken place and it's something that under no circumstances for a lifesaver to be treated in any way other than a nice, polite manner," SLSQ Sunshine Coast services co-ordinator Aaron Purchase said.

"We understand at times people will have an issue with lifesavers but they need to take it up through the appropriate channels ... just like any other aspect in life."

The man who assaulted the lifesaver said he had been teaching his wife to surf when he noticed the Korean swimmer being swept out by a rip at an unpatrolled part of the beach.

He said despite paddling to the tourist and signalling for help, lifesavers were oblivious to the struggling swimmer.

Once he made it back to the shore, the man said: "I looked back up at the tower and the two lifesavers were still happily sat in their chairs.

"Full of adrenalin I went to the tower and up the stairs to find the two youngsters completely oblivious to the whole scenario."

After pushing one of the lifesavers, the man said he spoke to the youngster's boss and apologised for his "language and behaviour".

"I don't want to sound like I'm blowing smoke up my own backside but I saved someone's life (on Sunday)," the man said.

"The only people that genuinely thanked me were the Korean and his two mates.

"I regret and apologise for manhandling the volunteer. But for two on-duty volunteers on surveillance in a 5m tower, not to have seen ... the bloke in trouble, me dragging him on to my board and me repeatedly waving the distress signal at the tower beggars belief."

Topics:  assault noosa rescue surf life saving

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