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A man is in hospital with suspected spinal injuries after being swept into rocks while fishing on Fingal Island in the Hunter area on Saturday morning. 

Shortly after 10am, the State Operations Centre was alerted to initial reports of an incident involving a group of bushwalkers near the lighthouse on Fingal Island, which is a popular local fishing spot.

Surf Life Saving assets including the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) from Fingal Beach SLSC, a Hunter Branch Support Jet Ski, and a Hunter Duty Officer were all tasked to attend, while NSW Police and Paramedics also sent personnel.

Once on scene it was quickly discovered that the incident involved fisherman and not bushwalkers as previously reported.

It is understood that the group of six were hit by a large wave and thrown against the rocks with one young man in his 20s suffering suspected spinal injuries in the incident.

Due to the geography of the area only an air evacuation of the patient was possible.

The Westpac Lifesaving Helicopter arrived on scene at around 11:15 with the young fisherman and a second man who had suffered minor leg injuries both flown to hospital shortly afterwards.

Due to the changing conditions, the area was now completely underwater as a result of the tide, it was decided that the remaining members of the group would be transported by the IRB back to Fingal Beach where a staging area had been set up.

Paramedics assessed the group once they had been brought to the safety of the shore but none required any further treatment.

NSW Lifesaving Manager Matt du Plessis said this morning’s rescue reinforced the importance of inter-agency relationships.

“This rescue involved responders from four different agencies including our volunteer surf lifesavers with each playing a small, but critical role in what was a successful outcome.

“We are pleased to be able to assist and play our part in this rescue,” said Mr du Plessis.

It is unknown if the injured fisherman was wearing a lifejacket at the time of the incident.


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 or more information

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

Saturday 3 February 2018