A father and son who drowned trying to rescue a tourist from rough waters near Port Campbell on Sunday have been described as "like peas in a pod" who dedicated their lives to the local community.
Ross, 71, and Andrew Powell, 32, were life-long members of the Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club and were prominent figures in the local dairy farming industry.
They, along with one other lifesaver, were attempting to save a 30-year-old Singaporean tourist at Sherbrook River, near the Twelve Apostles, on Sunday morning when their boat capsized.
The father and son were declared deceased at the scene, while the third lifesaver was seriously injured and airlifted to The Alfred hospital.
Corangamite councillor Ruth Gstrein described Ross as "a doyen of Port Campbell and the surf lifesaving club" and said he was in the process of building a new home in Port Campbell with his wife.
Andrew, one of four children, dedicated himself to the family's farm and was "a successful, innovative farmer" who led the local dairy farmers' group until late last year, according to Corangamite Mayor Neil Trotter.
Cr Trotter said he was lifelong friends with the Powell family, and had known Andrew since he was a baby.
"They were both volunteers for everything that was going - CFA, SES, surf life saving," Cr Trotter said.
"Ross was an inaugural member of the lifesaving club when it was formed in 1965 and maintained it his whole life. I think that speaks volumes - he put his community first."
Cr Trotter said the Powell family was "absolutely devastated" and the town of Port Campbell would look to arrange tributes in the coming days.
The surf lifesavers leapt into action when a 30-year-old male tourist got into trouble wading near the entrance to the Sherbrook River, a 10-minute drive from the Twelve Apostles, about 11am.
Rough surf caused the rescue boat to flip, tossing the three lifesavers into the ocean.
The man ended up clinging to a rock wall. Police say he was subsequently winched from the water. He suffered hypothermia and was taken to Warrnambool Base Hospital by road ambulance in a stable condition.
The surviving rescue worker, a man in his 50s, has injuries to his back and legs and was airlifted to The Alfred hospital in a serious condition. He remained in a serious but stable condition on Sunday evening.
Cr Trotter said it was a notoriously dangerous area and the town was "in a state of disbelief" after the double drowning.
He said Port Campbell lifesavers were "on edge" every Easter, as a mass of tourists arrive to especially dangerous sea conditions.
"We have notoriously big seas down here at Easter. We get king tides at Easter, there are large waves coming into the shore and a strong undertow that can pull people away very quickly," he said.
The Port Campbell Hotel said on Facebook that live music at the venue had been cancelled due to the "heart breaking tragedy in our community".
The Port Fairy Marine Service posted a message of sympathy on Facebook late Sunday saying "it is a very sad day for the MSAR community as 2 (sic) members from the Port Campbell group lost their lives. Our thoughts are with the families at this terrible time".
The Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club also posted condolences on Facebook, saying its members' "thoughts were with the Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club following the tragic incident".
Police had earlier suggested the 30-year-old tourist was taking photographs when he was swept off a rock at the mouth of the river, but emergency services now say this was not the case.
A worker at the Alcove Cafe in Port Campbell said that helicopters could be heard in town since the incident.
Surf Life Saving Victoria held a press conference at their Melbourne headquarters late Sunday and urged Victorians to be safe around water this Easter long weekend, citing research that reveals Australians are twice as likely to drown on a public holiday.
Police units from Cobden, Timboon and Koroit were in attendance, along with SES, CFA, Ambulance Victoria and Port Campbell Life Saving Club members.
Police will now prepare a report for the coroner.
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