A YOUNG foreigner thought dead by onlookers after being pulled from the surf has survived after amazing efforts to save her life.
Aubrey Perry and her daughter were sitting on Sunshine Beach watching on as her husband enjoyed a surf when the afternoon took a dramatic turn.
They'd come up from Melbourne to escape the Melbourne Cup crowds, but soon found themselves watching a battle of life and death unfold.
It was about 3pm on Sunday, November 5, when Aubrey said the ambience was broken by a surfer sprinting up the beach, grabbing a phone of a girl and calling for an ambulance.
Ms Perry's first thought was that there'd been a shark attack, with about half a dozen surfers out at the time.
She and her daughter watched as two surfers brought a woman in on a board, unconscious and not breathing.
Another surfer began performing CPR and was doing so for about five minutes when paramedics turned up.
Ms Perry moved her daughter away a little to shield her from what she expected to be a tragedy.
She said the first paramedic team gave the woman oxygen manually, before another crew arrived carrying a defibrillator.
"She (victim) wasn't breathing and had no pulse," Ms Perry recalled.
She estimated ambulance officers worked on the woman, who she thought may have been German, or of another European descent, for about 45 minutes or more.
She thought the woman was in her late teens, and said she'd been out in the water with another woman.
The group they were with on the beach were in shock, as was the friend.
Ms Perry said the woman had ducked under a wave and not surfaced.
The friend had dived down, grabbed her friend and began screaming for help from the surfers.
"I don't understand how she could've (survived)," Ms Perry said.
She said her husband, who was a little way away from the others board riders, had seen the surfers pull one girl onto a board, and had thought everything was okay, not realising there was another girl still in the water.
Surf Life Saving Queensland regional manager Aaron Purchase said the incident had taken place about 500m from the flags.
He confirmed the woman was in her early-20s, and that lifeguards on-duty had worked on the woman alongside paramedics and the surfers who pulled her in.
He said after about half an hour of CPR and resuscitation efforts rescuers were able to bring the woman back from the brink.
"They got a pulse back," Mr Purchase said.
The woman was rushed to Sunshine Coast University Hospital, where she was treated, and was incredibly discharged from hospital the next day.