LATEST: A QUICK, sunset swim at Point Arkwright nearly turned into tragedy for Italian tourist, Samuel Galli.
The 24-year-old has also learnt a valuable lessons - take Australia's warnings about swimming between the flags seriously.
Mr Galli, who had just been treated by paramedics when the Daily caught up with him, knows he is lucky to be alive.
He had decided to go for a quick swim alone as the sea looked relatively calm and he was a confident swimmer.
"I've been swimming since I was six," he said.
But the sea in Coolum is very different to what he is used to in Italy.
"It happened so quickly," he said.
"I got here at about 4.30pm and thought to myself just do it, you can do it."
It wasn't long before he was caught in a rip and found himself unable to return to shore.
"I was in there for half an hour, I was swimming and my muscles were feeling so tight.
"I just wanted to go outside."
He started to take in water and began seriously fearing he was going to drown.
"I realise how much lucky I am," he said in broken English.
"I don't just think it will happen.
"I am a confident swimmer, but here in the ocean is completely different. It is so strong when you think it is nothing."
Mr Galli pointed out the warning signs to swim between the red and yellow flags but said he didn't take them seriously.
"Tourists come here for another country, they don't really take it seriously. They don't take waves seriously."
He said he thought about his family as he slowly started to sink in the water.
"I was thinking about my family and a lot of things about my life. I was thinking what happens if I die here."
Thankfully, his calls for help reached a walker on the beach who rushed in to his rescue.
"I am so thankful to him, he saved my life," Mr Galli said.
"I think his name was Neal, but he just swam out to me and helped me.
"He was holding my hand, I couldn't help as my muscles were aching"
Surfers also swam in to give assistance and paramedics arrived to ensure he was stable.
He was uninjured, but very shaken.
"It is horrible, you realise how good life is. Just one day, things can change.
"You need to take a break and realise."
EARLIER: A MAN has been rescued from the water at Point Arkwright near Coolum this evening.
Paramedics were called to the incident at 4.58pm after reports that the man was caught in a rip.
The man was pulled from the water to safety and is currently being assessed by ambulance officers.
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