A young Sikh man has died in Tweed Heads, after drowning while at the beach celebrating Christmas with friends.
The group of eight men, aged from their mid-twenties to their early thirties, got into difficulty while swimming in an unpatrolled section of Flagstaff Beach about 4.30pm on Christmas Day, Surf Life Saving NSW said.
Lifeguards from Durunbah raced to the scene for a “mass rescue” with at least five men in distress, Surf Life Saving NSW said.
They entered the water three times to rescue the men, and then spotted the last member of the group unconscious in the water.
The 22-year-old was pulled from the water and lifeguards started CPR, with ambulance crews from Queensland and police also rushing to the scene.
Ravneet Singh Gill was found face down in the water when help reached him, and despite lifesavers describing it as a routing rescue, he was unable to be saved after 30 minutes of CPR.
He was described by friends as the best swimmer in the group, and was ‘very excited’ to take everyone to the ocean.
Unfortunately, they were unable to revive the man. Three other men were taken to hospital for further treatment.
Mr Ravneet Singh Gill, an international student from Ludhiana, Punjab (India) who was described by friends as ‘golden hearted’, died after eight people were rescued when swept out to sea at Duranbah Beach on Christmas Day.
SLS NSW chief executive Steven Pearce said his thoughts and sympathies were with the man’s friends and family.
“Christmas Day is special for the community and any tragedy is magnified on a day like this. The lifeguards and lifesavers involved all put in a heroic effort to save this young man’s life, but unfortunately were unable to do so,” he said.
Dean and Sean Harrington, who are known globally as stunt duo The Mad Hueys, were among those attempting to rescue the people and have lashed out at those who stood by and watched.
‘To all those surfers yesterday at D’bah who watched two lifeguards, me and my family save six people and one drowned, f*** you,’ the pair posted on Instagram.
‘If you see someone in trouble you help them.
‘Some poor family has lost a life because people were standing around watching and doing f*** all, it’s f***ing bulls**t.’
“This tragedy reinforces why we are so determined to ensure that our safety messages are heard and understood.”
The Gold Coast Sikh Council has arranged a special kirtan program on 28th December in the loving memory of Ravneet Singh.