A local photographer says he “came as close to death as he’s ever been”, after being smashed by a rogue wave on Point Lonsdale pier.
Peter James was taking footage of the giant swell, during stormy conditions last month, when the wave washed over the pier, forcing him to the ground and his $7,000 camera from his hands.
Four fishermen, also on the pier at the time, rushed to his aid.
“There was two things that stopped me from going straight into the ocean; the small four inch-high piece of timber that edges the pier decking and one of the fishermen who grabbed my backpack as I was about to go under the first railing,” Mr James wrote in a Facebook post.
His camera continued to roll, capturing the ordeal on video.
It left Mr James with sore ribs; “but I’m alive so that’s all that matters.”
Point Lonsdale's Lester Hunt, was looking on from the Point Lonsdale lighthouse lookout and managed to photograph the dramatic moment.
His stunning images went viral on The Rip Facebook page, with more almost 2,000 hits and more than a thousand shares. Many criticised those on the pier for putting lives at risk.
The incident also prompted a safety warning from Parks Victoria.
“While the structure itself is stable, it is definitely not safe for members of the public to be fishing or standing on the end of Point Lonsdale Pier during conditions where there are large waves crashing over the pier,” said Parks Victoria Chief Ranger David Ritman.
“Unexpected large waves can wash people off the pier in seconds and without warning. When there’s an obvious danger it’s important for people use common sense to stay out of danger.
“Not only were the anglers putting their own lives at risk, they also risked the lives of rescuers and emergency services personnel who would need to respond if the unthinkable happened and they were washed off the pier,” Mr Rittman said.
Photos courtesy: Lester Hunt