Dramatic 2am rescue of tourist who fell in ocean

 

Only 10 days into his Australian holiday, a French tourist was winched to safety at Bronte Beach after shattering his leg in the middle of the night.

Police were called to the southern end of the beach about 1.45am on Boxing Day after a local resident heard the 38-year-old man screaming for help about 50m offshore.

"It appears he may have been in the water for up to half an hour before that resident heard his cries for help," Acting Inspector Peter Wilkes said on Thursday.

The French tourist was winched to safety. Picture: Bill Hearne
The French tourist was winched to safety. Picture: Bill Hearne

The man managed to drag himself onto rocks below a cliff but had to be winched to safety by a helicopter crew after seriously injuring his legs.

Police officers saw the man had a serious compound fracture to his left leg and cuts to his right leg.

Two police officers who climbed down to him and carried him out of the reach of waves also had to be winched to safety after they were cut off by the rising tide.

"Those officers placed their own safety at risk to rescue this man and they should be commended for their actions," Insp Wilkes said.

Rising tides at Bronte Beach. Picture: Bill Hearne
Rising tides at Bronte Beach. Picture: Bill Hearne

The tourist was treated at Prince of Wales Hospital, where he was in a stable condition.

He told police he fell into the sea near the Bronte Baths and may have been in the water up to 30 minutes before he managed to get ashore.

The NSW Ambulance Toll Helicopter was called to help rescue the man, with police and paramedics helping winch him to safety.