Rockfisher Drowns On Northern Beaches

An early morning fishing trip turned to tragedy on Sunday with one man drowning and his friends requiring rescuing after they were washed into the water near North Head.

The group were fishing at Bluefish Point when they got into difficulty shortly before 6:30am.

Following reports of at least three people in the water, a multi-agency response was launched with Water Police, Paramedics, and Sydney Northern Beaches Duty Officers all attending.

Lifesavers from Manly also prepared the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) to assist but were not required.

All three men were pulled from the water by Police with two wearing lifejackets.

The third man understood to be a 23-year-old foreign national was not wearing a lifejacket, and was unresponsive when he was rescued.

CPR was immediately commenced with the first responders rushing him back to short. Unfortunately all efforts to revive the man were unsuccessful.

The remaining two members of the group were assessed by Paramedics and later transported to hospital for observation.

Conditions at Bluefish Point at the time of the incident have been described as “challenging” with a swell of between 3-4 foot breaking over the rock platform.

In a separate incident also on Sunday at Cape Solander near Botany Bay a man aged in his 20s narrowly escaped drowning while rock fishing thanks to the vigilance of his friend who threw him an angle ring which was located nearby.

The man was washed off the rock platform shortly before 7am with Council Lifeguards, the Off Shore Rescue Boat, a Sydney Duty Officer, Paramedics, and Police all tasked to attend. He wasn’t wearing a lifejacket at the time, but emerged from the water unscathed thanks to the fortuitously placed lifesaving device.

The two incidents so close together add to the frustrations of the lifesaving community particularly in light of NSW Government’s 12 month trial of mandatory lifejackets in the Randwick Local Government Area.

“The tragedy of this situation is that rock fishing fatalities are preventable – the data is clear and it’s consistent. Lifejackets save lives and in the vast majority of successful rescues involving our lifesavers the fisher is wearing a lifejacket,” said NSW Operations Manager Andy Kent.

“As one of the peak water safety bodies in NSW, Surf Life Saving is unwavering in its support for any initiative that makes this recreational activity safer.

“These deaths impact on the volunteers who are called on to assist and the wider community. It is incredibly disappointing that there are those within the fishing community who continue to be vocal in their opposition to mandatory lifejackets and in doing so have hijacked the debate away from safety messages that could potentially save someone’s life.”

General Rock Fishing Safety Tips:

• Check the weather, surf conditions and tides before going fishing
• Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
• Always wear a lifejacket
• Wear appropriate non-slip footwear and light clothing
• Always fish with a friend
• Check the warnings signs for information about the area
• Never turn your back to the water
• Do not try and retrieve anything that has fallen into the water
• Do not jump in if someone falls into the water - wait for assistance or throw an ‘Angel Ring’ or Lifebuoy if there is one nearby • Additionally boaters are urged to always check conditions prior and to log on with their local Marine Rescue Base via radio or using the MarineRescue App. Visit www.mrnsw.com.au for more information
• Call Triple Zero – Police to report an in-water emergency

Sun 12 Mar 2017