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Two Australian Heroes killed when saving a tourist from drowning


Tourism and Dairy are popular in  Port Campbell, a coastal town in Victoria, Australia. The town is on the Great Ocean Road, west of the Twelve Apostles, in the Shire of Corangamite and has less than 500 residents.

Two of these residents a father and son today drowned trying to rescue a tourist from rough on Sunday have been described as selfless members of the local community and “like peas in a pod”.

Ross, 71, and Andrew Powell, 32, were life-long members of the Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club and were prominent figures in the local dairy farming industry.

They, along with one other lifesaver, were attempting to save a tourist at Sherbrook River, near the Twelve Apostles on Victoria’s south-west coast, on Sunday morning when their boat flipped.

The father and son were declared dead at the scene, while the third lifesaver was seriously injured and airlifted to The Alfred hospital.

Ross was an inaugural member of the lifesaving club when it was formed in 1965 and maintained it his whole life putting his community first.

A 30-year-old male tourist got into trouble wading near the entrance to the Sherbrook River, a 10-minute drive from the Twelve Apostles, about 11am.

Rough surf caused the rescue boat to flip, tossing the three lifesavers into the ocean in an area Cr Trotter said was notoriously dangerous.

An emergency helicopter managed to safe one of rescuers and the tourist out of the water, however, the father and son’s bodies were later found.

The surviving rescue worker, a man in his 50s, has injuries to his back and legs and was airlifted to The Alfred hospital in a serious condition. He remained in a serious but stable condition on Sunday evening.

The tourist who was swept into the water suffered hypothermia and was taken by road ambulance to the Warrnambool hospital in a stable condition.


A flipped rescue boat at Port Campbell on Sunday.

Mr James said initial investigations found all three lifesavers had been wearing life jackets.

Earlier reports suggested the tourist was taking photographs when he was swept off a rock at the mouth of the river, but emergency services say this was not the case.

Another rescue boat near Port Campbell.

The Port Campbell Hotel said on Facebook that live music at the venue had been canceled due to the “heartbreaking tragedy in our community”.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.