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The body of a rock fisher who was swept off rocks at a notorious rock fishing black-spot near Snapper Point on the Central Coast has been recovered after an extensive four-day search.

On Sunday 7 July, a 62-year-old male rock fisher was swept off the rocks by a large wave. The man’s daughter, who witnessed the man being swept into the water, alerted authorities and a large multi-agency search operation commenced.

Volunteer surf lifesavers from the Hunter and Central Coast branches, Water Police, Marine Rescue and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter were tasked in the search operation. A Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone and Police divers were also involved in the search.

Surf lifesavers searched the water around the Snapper Point rock platforms and even swam into caves in an attempt to locate the missing man. Jetskis were launched from nearby Munmorah National Park with swimmers on board, kitted-up with helmets and fins. As part of the search, and in very challenging conditions, they swam into caves with significant, pounding swells and strong currents.

In an interview with ABC Radio, surf lifesaver Brianna Coyte, who was involved in the search, said that the hardest thing was going into the rescue thinking that she was going to be able to easily locate the man alive and conscious - and that not being the case.

“To not be able to find him was actually really, really tough. At the end of the day it can be the dark side of lifesaving. We wanted the best result for his family.” said Brianna Coyte.

“When it became apparent it had turned into a recovery operation that’s still what we wanted – to bring him home to his family. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that because sometimes mother nature can be much stronger than we are.

“I’m really confident that our entire team gave it everything they had. We really held nothing back to find him,” said Ms Coyte.

The missing man’s body was recovered on Thursday 11 July, four days after he was reported missing and the search and rescue operation began.

Surf Life Saving NSW extends its condolences to the man’s family and thanks the volunteer surf lifesavers involved in the search and rescue operation for their efforts.

Since 1 July 2018, 45 people have drowned on the NSW coastline. Nine of these drownings occurred as a result of rock fishing.


  • 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.


Thursday 11 July 2019