PORT CAMPELL – A father and son who worked as lifeguards in Australia had to pay with their lifes for a rescue mission. Ross Powell (71) and son Andrew (32) drowned when they tried to get a tourist out of the water. The two lifeguards capsized near the famous 12 Apostles, twelve limestone cliffs off the coast of the state of Victoria in southeastern Australia, police reported on Monday. The 71-year-old Ross Powell and his 32-year-old son Andrew were recovered from the water, but were pronounced dead at the scene.
The 30-year-old tourist got into trouble near the 12 Apostles on Sunday when he was wading through an estuary and was dragged into the sea by the current. He was pulled out of the water by a helicopter and taken to a hospital together with a third lifeguard who had also been in the capsized boat, Victoria’s police said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condoled the families and friends of the drowned lifeguards. “Surf lifesavers are selfless & brave. We thank them all for their service,” he wrote on Twitter. The club president of the lifeguards in Victoria, Paul James, praised the two deceased, who worked full time as dairy farmers, as heroes. The sea at the Twelve Apostles was very rough on Sunday and “not a place for swimming,” he said.
Andrew Powell’s girlfriend, who is reported to be pregnant and expecting the couple’s second child, wrote on Facebook about her grief. “Today we lost two of the most beautiful people to ever exist – always putting others first. The love of my life, light of my life, father of my baby girl. My heart is broken.,” wrote Amber Griffiths.
The 12 Apostles are one of the most photographed tourist attractions in Australia, in addition to Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, in the Outback. The rocks between Princetown and Port Campbell are one of the highlights on the Great Ocean Road, a spectacular coastal road in southeastern Australia.