Fisherman Drowns At Catherine Hill Bay

Efforts to revive a rock fisherman who was washed into the sea near a notorious stretch of coastline at Catherine Hill Bay on Saturday were unsuccessful.

It is believed that the man thought to be in his 50s was fishing with his nephew on the northern rocks at the popular angling spot when he was washed into the water at around 9.30AEDT.

Police were called by witnesses and the State Operations Centre was asked to provide lifesaving assets for the full scale rescue operation.

Club members from Catherine Hill Bay launched an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) into the water while Council lifeguards launched a jet ski to help with the search.

The man’s nephew threw a life buoy into the water in an effort to save his uncle but he wasn’t able to reach it due to the conditions.

It was the Westpac Lifesaving Helicopter who spotted the man in the water and they were able to direct the IRB to his position. He was pulled in to the boat and CPR was immediately commenced.

A doctor from the helicopter and attending paramedics continued to perform advanced CPR with the assistance of surf lifesavers for a further 25 minutes, but were unable to revive the man.

NSW Lifesaving Manager Andy Kent praised the efforts of all the first responders for their efforts in what was a difficult situation.

“This was a difficult rescue operation and every effort was made to revive the man but unfortunately all efforts were not successful in this instance,” Mr Kent said.

“Our lifesavers reacted in the way they were trained to do, and worked with the other agencies to provide the man with the best possible care.

“Our thoughts go out to the man’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

Mr Kent also implored the public to take the time to assess the conditions before heading out especially as a dangerous surf warning is currently in place for the entire NSW coastline.

“If you are going out rockfishing please be aware of the strong swell period and take precautions to ensure your safety such as wearing a lifejacket, appropriate footwear, carrying a mobile phone, fishing with a partner and informing others of your plans.”

The man was not wearing a lifejacket at the time of the incident, and it is believed he was not a strong swimmer.

Sat 9 Jan 2016