Valiant effort in failed bid to save drowning woman

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times

The volunteers who responded to a tragic fatal drowning off the coast of Walpole at the weekend are being lauded for their work.

A 50-year-old woman was found in the water after it is believed the dinghy she and a 60-year-old man were in capsized at about 12.30pm on Sunday.

The man was able to swim back to shore but the woman could not be located.

A search and rescue was launched and managed by the Water Police and involved the Walpole Volunteer Marine Rescue, Windy Harbour Volunteer Marine Rescue, Walpole Police, Albany Police and an RAC Rescue Helicopter before she was found about 2pm.

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Windy Harbour Volunteer Marine Rescue commander Nigel Kelly said all those involved with the search, especially the volunteers, showed professionalism in the search for the woman.

“The two marine rescue groups were extremely professional and showed great efficiency,” Cdr Kelly said.

“Despite the tragic outcome, it is a credit to the volunteers that she was found so quickly.”

Cdr Kelly said the woman was located just as the RAC Rescue Helicopter and Windy Harbour Volunteer Marine Rescue arrived at Chatham Island, about 25 nautical miles east of Walpole.

He also expressed his sympathy for the woman’s family.

The man and woman were fishing off Banksia Camp beach near Walpole and the man was able to swim back to shore following the incident.

The dinghy washed up on the beach near Banksia Camp later.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

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