Woman rescues girl swept out to sea in Augusta

Joella Enderes swam 250 metres out to see to rescue a five-year-old girl who had drifted offshore in a kayak.

Joella Enderes swam 250 metres out to see to rescue a five-year-old girl who had drifted offshore in a kayak.

A 25-year-old woman has bravely rescued a five year old girl who was swept out to sea in a kayak off Augusta.

At 1.30pm on Wednesday, Augusta Police were called to the incident which happened at the dog beach around the corner from the Blackwood River.

Augusta Police first class constable Brett Dillon said five-year old Noema Sampson was with friends paddling in shallow water close to shore in a kayak when she was hit by a strong current.

Mr Dillon said the current quickly swept Noema out to sea when Joella Enderes, who witnessed the event, swam out to reach the girl who was 250 metres offshore.

When Ms Enderes reached Noema she jumped into the kayak and paddled her safely back to shore.

Marine Rescue Augusta volunteer Phil Tubb said there was a strong offshore wind blowing at the time and the kayak with Noema on board was heading out to sea at a staggering rate

“After many calls to all sorts of people including local police, our group managed to get to the scene,” he said.

“What occurred prior to that is the stuff of miracles.”

Mr Tubb said Ms Enderes was working a shift waitressing at the Colour Patch Cafe, heard what was going on and ran to the scene.

“She stripped off, dived into the cold water and swam at least 500m to the kayak and brought the girl back to the shore with endurance that is very difficult given the conditions,” he said.

“As it happened, all are safe and well, but if it was not for Ms Enderes, me thinks this young girl may not be alive today.”

Ms Enderes said that it was an unexpected situation which all happened in the heat of the moment.

“The weather was not crazy, it was all instinct,” she said.

“No-one else was capable of swimming out to reach her, I knew the beach well and knew there would not be a rip.

“I could see the girl was distraught and scared, she was rocking in her canoe, I decided to swim out to her, I could see she was drifting so I began swimming.

“I am glad we got back safely and nothing bad happened.”

Ms Enderes said her heroic act did not sink in until a few hours after the event, and at the time she did not realise how far the girl had actually drifted.

“When I reached her she was in deep water and very scared, when I got myself into the canoe I got her to sit on my lap and had a good chat to make sure she was okay,” she said.

“I never expected anything like this to happen, it was great to see the community come together during such an event.”