A MOTHER, who was rescued along with her young daughter and a family friend last week, has told the Times about her terrifying ordeal.
Ishik Cevik who works in Taree but lives at Hallidays Point, had headed to Black Head back beach on Tuesday evening with the two girls.
"We'd just been wading in the shallows because I could see that it was dangerous surf and I kept saying to the two girls to come in closer," explained Ishik.
But then every mother's worst nightmare happened and before Ishik knew it, the girls and herself were swept up and taken out to sea in a fast moving, strong rip.
"It all happened so quickly, I still can't believe how fast it was," said Ishik.
"I want people to know that it happens in the blink of an eye, especially in seas like that day."
The trio were also getting dragged under by the dumping waves that were previously reported to have been up to 2.5 metres.
But fate saw Madi Rowe and her family on the beach that day, along with a group of local body boarders, all of whom heard Ishik and the girls' cries for help.
"I can never thank Madi and the boys enough," cried Ishik.
"I thought this was it, I honestly thought my time was up and it was just amazing that they came and saved me and the girls."
The rescue operation was quite an involved process and Ishik said by the time Madi got out to her and the girls, all three were very tired and very panicked.
"I was just helpless, and as a mother, there is nothing worse," Ishik said.
"We were exhausted and they came to us and spoke to us and saved us, and I'm so grateful.
"I hope this is a cautionary tale for other people to realise that it can happen so easily and it doesn't matter if you can swim or not, if there are three of you and there is big surf everything becomes more difficult."