A 12-year-old girl drowned at a popular beach after a brave nurse jumped into the water and tried to save the teenager and her friend.
Cienna Jervies, 12, was swimming with another 13-year-old girl when they ran into trouble at Collendina Beach in Ocean Grove, Victoria, around 6pm on Tuesday.
Nurse Elise Van Wegen was walking her dog with headphones on when she was stopped by two screaming women begging her to help the two drowning girls.
The 35-year-old man immediately jumped into the waves and swam about 100 meters from shore to reach them.
The mother-of-two explained that she held the girls with her hands but the surf conditions were “just too difficult” and the trio became separated.
Cienna Jervies, 12 years old (second from right) drowned on Collendina beach. She is remembered as a “happy” and “artistic” soul who was “sometimes shy, sometimes bubbly.”
Nurse Elise Van Wegen (pictured) was walking her dog with headphones on when she was stopped by two screaming women asking her to help the two drowning girls.
“I walked up to them both and they were conscious, they were talking and they were looking at me,” Ms Van Wegen told the Geelong Advertiser.
“I was holding them with my hands, then the waves separated us all. I could hear her (Cienna Jervies) screaming “I’m drowning”.
Despite the efforts of lifeguards, Cienna Jervies, a year 7 student at Bellarine Secondary College, died on the beach.
Ms Van Wegen said another male “hero” swam out to them and was able to bring one of the girls back to shore.
The nurse was rushed to Geelong Hospital with the 13-year-old survivor and the good Samaritan.
Ms Van Wegen has since been released from hospital but was “completely devastated” by the ordeal.
“Because I’m a nurse, I’m good at compartmentalizing, but it’s very traumatic…I could have also left my own family without me, so there are a lot of emotions.” » said Ms. Van Wegen.
Beachgoers said they experienced “very difficult” and dangerous swimming conditions shortly before the girl drowned.
Collendina Beach extends 6km from Point Londsdale and Barwon Heads across most of the open bay between Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads.
The south-east facing beach is known for its dangerous surfing conditions, producing waves up to 1.5 meters high and persistent rips occurring every 250 meters – with some permanent rips against the most prominent reefs on the beach. beach.
The beach was not patrolled by the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club at the time of the incident.
The grieving family of Cienna Jervies, who drowned on the beach, remember their ‘sissy’ as a happy, artistic soul.
Beachgoers reported experiencing “very difficult” and dangerous swimming conditions shortly before the tragedy (photo, Collendina Beach).
“We are all heartbroken,” a family member told the Geelong Advertiser.
Family friend Zoe Mayne started a GoFundMe page to help the family with funeral costs and living expenses.
“Sissy was a much-loved, artistic, happy, sometimes shy, sometimes bubbly Year 7 girl,” Ms Mayne wrote.
“(She was) a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a granddaughter, a niece and the loyalist and best friend anyone could have.”
“Cienna was a very important and valued member of the Clifton Springs and Bellarine community,” Ms Mayne wrote.
“Cienna’s parents Jodie and Brent are understandably unable to work at the moment, caring for their sons and trying to navigate life and grief.”
Ms Mayne explained that any donations are “greatly appreciated” and will go towards helping the Jervies family.
As of this writing, the GoFundMe page has received 175 donations totaling $18,265 and has a goal of raising $30,000.