VIA – AU NEWS YAHOO
Wild surf and brawls cause beach chaos
One of Perth’s busiest beaches was plunged into chaos yesterday as dozens of swimmers came to grief in big swells and wild brawls broke out between groups of drunken youths.
On the hottest day in Perth since March 25, lifeguards were called to perform more than a hundred rescues at Scarborough as thousands of people flocked to the beachside suburb to escape the heat.
Surf lifesavers were also busy at other places along the metropolitan coastline, with several people at Cottesloe needing hospital treatment.
Surf Life Saving WA duty officer Andrew Matraszek said “conditions-wise the planets have aligned” after a 4m swell coincided with a day on which the mercury reached 36.3C.
He said lifeguards had expected and prepared for a tough day but had been caught off guard by “flash” rips that led to mass rescues and forced authorities to close the beach several times.
Photo: Swimmers caught in a rip at Scarborough. Picture: Michael Wilson
According to Mr Matraszek, about three or four people had to be taken to hospital after being dumped in shallow water, including one person who sustained spinal injuries.
The dramatic events in the water came as police were forced to break up a number of ugly melees involving groups of teenagers – many of whom had been drinking.
In one of the brawls, two teenage boys had to be taken to hospital with significant facial injuries including a broken nose and fractured eye socket when tensions exploded shortly after midday.
It was the second time in as many days police had been called to Scarborough to quash violent scenes after riot squad officers were forced to head off a fracas at the Stamford Arms between two groups on Saturday night.
Sgt Neil Stimpson, of the west metropolitan police district, said yesterday that “things were bound to come to a head” after huge numbers of youths descended on Scarborough from parts of Perth as far away as Cloverdale and Midland.
“It’s a matter of preparing for the unexpected,” Sgt Stimpson said.
“We expected a few people to come but not in the busloads that have come.”
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