TWO very lucky French tourists showed their gratitude to their surf rescuers by returning to Shelly Beach to thank them last weekend.
The French couple arrived in Ballina last Sunday and went for a swim at the Shelly Beach.
They got into trouble in the rough surf at about 11am - but beach patrols for the season had finished on Anzac Day.
However, members of the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Lifesaving Club were at Shelly Beach moving equipment from Lighthouse Beach in preparation for construction of the new Lighthouse Beach clubhouse.
And it was lucky for the couple the lifesavers were there.
Club member Mark Thomson noticed the tourists in trouble and within a few minutes, lifesavers in work boots, jeans and t-shirts had launched the IRB (rescue boat).
And club members Isabella Jones and Joe Keane headed out on rescue boards in response, while the ambulance was called.
Club president Kris Beavis said at the time : "The two patients were extremely lucky that we happened to be down here today, with rescue and lifesaving equipment at hand.
"Both patients were picked up and quickly transported back to the beach, where oxygen therapy and first aid assistance was applied until two teams of paramedics arrived and the tourists were transported to Ballina District Hospital at approximately 11.30am."
They were released early in the afternoon, and then returned to the beach to thank the lifesavers.