Rugby league in mourning as NRL star's brave uncle sadly dies while trying to save strangers from drowning
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The rugby league world is in mourning after a man who drowned at a Sydney beach while trying to save two strangers has been identified as the uncle of new Broncos star Marty Taupau.
Talitiga Taupau is being praised as a hero after he dove into dangerous waters at Shelly Beach in Cronulla in an attempt to save two other swimmers, according to 9News.
One swimmer aged in his 20s made it back to shore out of the rip, however, Talitiga and one other were found unconscious after being pulled from the water by lifesavers.
The other man in his 40s is reportedly in critical condition at St George Hospital after being underwater for three minutes.
Talitiga could not be saved, but will forever be remembered for his actions.
The Brisbane prop had been driving to training with the Broncos when he was told the news.
The NRL star told 9News: “It’s really sad that this has happened but he will never be forgotten for his actions.”
The NSW Police are continuing their inquiries in the area, according to Fox Sports.
Marty later paid tribute to his uncle on his Instagram page.
He posted a video, captioning it: “Manuia lau malaga uncle.”
The Samoan caption translates to ‘good luck on your trip’.
Many of the 32-year-old’s followers gave their condolences to Marty’s family.
Sydney Kings player Dejan Vasiljevic wrote: “Prayers and condolences to you and your family brother.”
Personal trainer Dinny J said: “Sending you and the family love Marty.”
Former Parramatta player Brad Takairangi commented: “Much love my bro.”
The Sun reports that there have been 14 deaths from drownings in New South Wales since December 1, 2022.
Surf Life Saving NSW’s Joel Wiseman also appeared on 9News saying that volunteer rescuers had been under enormous stress with the number of drownings.
He said: “We are experiencing one of our busiest summers ever with huge rescue numbers, and our volunteers have put in a massive effort to try to keep people safe along the coast.
“Despite the growing drowning toll, volunteers and lifeguards should be very proud of what they've achieved so far this summer.
Joel added: “There are a combination of factors making this summer so deadly. Including people taking risks, alcohol consumption, and crowded beaches which can lead beachgoers to seek out unfamiliar and unpatrolled locations.
“Rip currents remain the number one coastal hazard and the 14 coastal drowning deaths this summer have all occurred at unpatrolled locations.”