A drone photographer has snapped a spectacular image of a huge “flash rip” that formed off the south coast of Western Australia on the weekend.
The image was taken on Sunday at Hamersley Beach, in the Fitzgerald River National Park, by Dene Bingham.
Oceanographer Craig Brokensha said the maelstrom was generated by the big swell that hit the coast on the weekend.
“That’s a big flash rip. There’s obviously been a big set,” he said.
“All that water has piled up on the beach and then surged out along a gutter.
“You can see once the water rushes out, in the whirlpool it spins back and goes either left or right.
“There’s some serious energy out there.”
Mr Brokensha said getting stuck in the rip would be similar to feeling like you were caught in a fast-flowing river.
“It would be very scary and take you out quite rapidly,” he said.
“Particularly for a non-surfer or non-swimmer, it’d be quite scary.”
Albany Surf Life Saving Club education team leader Jeff Medcalf said people caught in rips should try to swim parallel to the shore to escape the current.
“A large rip can happen suddenly,” he said.
“They don’t last long, but happen as a big set comes through.
“If you have a flash rip at a public beach it may drag a dozen people out of their depth.
“As the water gets deeper, the current slows down … do not try and swim against it – swim parallel to coast and try get out of the current, raise the hand, float and wait for assistance.
“Not panicking is the tip.”