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The body of a rock fisher, missing since late Friday afternoon, has been recovered in a joint search and rescue operation between Surf Lifesavers, Police and Marine Rescue.

At approximately 12.45pm on Friday 17 April, the Surf Life Saving NSW State Operations Centre was notified of two rock fishers in distress in the water at Potter Point, Kurnell. Sutherland Shire Council Lifeguards and Surf Lifesavers on jetskis and two Inflatable Rescue Boat callout crews from Wanda SLSC responded along with Polair and Water Police.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter winched a man, retrieved from the water by jetski, and landed on a rock platform where they commenced CPR. However, the man was declared deceased a short time later.

The search for the second man continued this morning with SLSNSW jetskis and Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drones being tasked in a ‘line-search’ operation. At 10.32am, the body of a deceased 68-year-old male, suspected to be the missing rock fisher, was recovered by police divers.

Both men, aged 68, were believed to be wearing manually inflating lifejackets which appear not to have been activated - or may have been incorrectly fitted.

The location where the incident occurred is a known blackspot for rock fishing incidents. Sea conditions at the time of the accident were reported to be rough with a two-metre swell and high tide.

Matt Spooner, who was SLSNSW's group manager on the opertation, said that the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone capability was pivotal in coordianting the multi-agency search.

"The drone was used in tandem with other emergency service assets and it allowed us and the Police to conduct a more coordinated and extended search of the erea," said Matt Spooner.

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the deceased men.

“This is a tragic outcome for the families of both the deceased men. Unfortunately, it highlights the dangers of rock fishing on exposed rock platforms - particularly when rough sea conditions are prevalent,” said Steven Pearce.

“Even though the men were wearing life jackets, they seem to have been ineffective in this instance.

“We implore everyone to be mindful of the weather and swell conditions when visiting the coastline and to call Triple-Zero in an emergency so our callout teams can respond quickly,” Pearce concluded.


  • 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 Marine Rescue App. Visit for more information

  • Call Triple Zero – Police to report an in-water emergency.


Saturday 18 April 2020