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Australian Off-Duty Police Officer Who Drowned on New Year’s Day Was Saving Son

The hero off-duty police officer who drowned on New Year’s day in Australia has been revealed to have been rescuing his teenage son from a substantial rip on the New South Wales (NSW) south coast.

Police Rescue Office Peter Stone, 45, who was on an extended leave of absence for a holiday with his family, dived into rough water at Bogola Beach on Sunday afternoon to get his 14-year-old son to safety after the teen got caught in distress in the rip.

However, Stone himself became caught in the rip, and emergency services were called to the beach, located near the Australian southern coastal town of Narooma, at approximately 1 p.m. local time.

A helicopter sent from Moruya spotted the Stone in the ocean, who was pulled from the rip by lifesavers, but paramedics couldn’t revive him, and he died at the scene.

Acting Inspector Paul Hoyer said the officer’s death was a tragedy that “that will cut through to his family, friends and workmates.”

“It’s devastating at this time of the year when obviously with the recency of the two deaths in Queensland —it just brings home how dangerous policing is,” he told reporters on Monday.

Praising his colleague, Hoyer said that Stone was doing exactly what he should have been doing as a “father, parent and as a police officer.”

“From what I understand, he was able to push his son out of the rip. He was then taken out to sea further in the rip, and that obviously will form part of our investigation as we prepare a brief.”

Acting Inspector Hoyer reiterated police and surf lifesavers advise people to swim between the flags and to swim at a patrolled beach.

Surf Lifesavers Reports 1,000 Rescues a Week

Surf Life Saving NSW Chief Executive Steven Pearce said that this incident was tragic but a common occurrence in Australia.

“It’s a really, really tragic incident, and we have numerous cases each year … where someone goes into the rescue and they, in turn, become the victim and the person they went to rescue successfully escapes the rip they were caught in,” Pearce told AAP.

With warm temperatures driving thousands of people to the state’s beaches this summer, NSW lifesavers have already carried out more than 1,000 rescues since Christmas, which is a record.

“We’ve never ever seen this before,” Pearce said.

Epoch Times Photo
Akos Melegh and John DeLauney patrol the waters on a IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia on December 9, 2007. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

“So the primary message today, particularly because it’s such a bumper day for the beach, is: we’re urging people to go to a patrolled location, and that’s anywhere with a red and yellow flag flying and where our lifesavers, and our lifeguards, are on duty.”

Victoria Kelly-Clark

Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.

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