Dramatic early-morning rescue of drowning woman at Sydney beach captured by photographers

A woman drowning off Sydney’s Bronte beach early yesterday morning was saved by off-duty lifeguards, with nearby photographers capturing the dramatic rescue.

Surf lifesavers Troy Stewart and Andrew Reid, who starred on Bondi Rescue, had arrived to begin their shift at 7am when they spotted the woman struggling in the huge surf during a morning swim.

"I had just walked in at 6.55am and a fellow lifeguard turned up because we start at 7am," Reid told the Daily Mail.

"We were actually just looking out and checking the conditions to see how we would set up the beach and a massive set rolled in and I actually joked I wouldn't want to be out in that today."

One of the dramatic photos shows only the woman’s hand above the water as Stewart can be seen rushing to reach her.

"I've seen a lot of people drown and I can say I think she was going under for the last time," his colleague told news.com.au.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 30: A woman is rescued after being caught in a rip at Bronte Beach on August 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a surf warning as massive waves continue to hit the NSW coast. The hazardous conditions are expected to render many coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating, and swimming too dangerous. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)
The woman is lifted from the paddle board. Source: Getty

"But then Troy got to her and pulled her up, it was amazing to see."

Another photo shows the exhausted woman being lifted up on the beach after being brought back on a paddleboard by one of the lifeguards, who many will recognise as Anthony "Harries" Carroll from Bondi Rescue.

Making the task more difficult for the lifeguards was that there was a separate rescue of a man taking place on the beach, which is south of Bondi.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 30:  A rescuer swims towards a woman  after she was caught in a rip at Bronte beach on August 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a surf warning as massive waves continue to hit the NSW coast. The hazardous conditions are expected to render many coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating, and swimming too dangerous  (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
The woman was struggling to keep her head above water. Source: Getty