Glenise and Tony Mancini with grandchildren Indica and Jahli Gannon, aged 7 and 5.
Glenise and Tony Mancini with grandchildren Indica and Jahli Gannon, aged 7 and 5.

‘Dad was dead on the beach’: An amazing rescue

IT HAD been a beautiful day, the sun was out and the waves had been pretty calm.

A Coopers Shoot family and a grandfather visiting from WA were about to leave the water at Clarkes Beach when a larger set approached.

Leia Mancini was focused on making sure her kids ducked under the waves safely at the moment her father, Tony Mancini, was dunked by a wave.

Mr Mancini, 64, remains in Brisbane's Princess Alexandra hospital, having suffered a severe spinal injury.

While the family grapple with the situation, amid state border closures, Ms Mancini has expressed their gratitude for everyone who helped her father on Saturday afternoon.

Ms Mancini said she'd headed to the beach about 1pm with her husband Mathew Gannon, their children, Indica, 7 and Jahli, 5.

 

Tony Mancini with his wife, Glenise.
Tony Mancini with his wife, Glenise.

"The weather was so beautiful," she said.

"It wasn't choppy. The ocean was just amazing."

She said others on the beach were practising social isolation and "just enjoying the sun".

Tony had been admiring the beauty of Wollumbin before saying to his daughter, "call your mum and tell her to put some pies on".

Then a large set of waves hit and he was knocked unconscious.

His son-in-law helped to bring him in from the water and a number of members of the public rushed to assist.

"Dad's eyes were open, there was nothing there," Ms Mancini said.

Two women who helped explained they were nurses, one of them on holidays from the Sunshine Coast.
Someone held a towel to protect Tony from the sun.

Lifesavers attended, then an ambulance. All the while, various people had been conducting CPR.

 

Tony Mancini, who was seriously injured in an accident in the surf at Byron Bay last Saturday, March 21. He remains in hospital in Brisbane.
Tony Mancini, who was seriously injured in an accident in the surf at Byron Bay last Saturday, March 21. He remains in hospital in Brisbane.

 

One woman helped to distract the children.

He was transported to a place where they met the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

"There were quite a few other people around just helping," Ms Mancini said.

She said those who came to their aid so quickly, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic in which we're urged to stay at a distance, saved her dad's life.

"Dad was dead on the beach," she said.

"Thank you to all the first responders, and all the ambulance and the lifesavers the police.

"The Westpac crew were amazing.

"No one held back."

Mr Mancini and his wife Glenise are from Western Australia.