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full-scale search was launched today after two Nepalese students were washed from rocks at the Figure 8 Pools in the Royal National Park.

The group of international students were on the rock platform approximately 1km south of Burning Palms SLSC just before 2pm. A wave washed one man into the water and the other across the rocks. 

A 21-year-old man was washed into the water at the remote location before disappearing from view of the group.

Surf Life Saving Sydney and Illawarra rescue jetskis worked with the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter, Wollongong City Council Lifeguard Service, Botany Water Police, PolAir as well as Fire and Ambulance services after being notified of the incident. A command centre was set up by SLS Illawarra and Sydney Duty Officers who were assisted by a Burning Palms SLSC official.

The 22-year-old man who was washed over the rocks sustained minor lacerations and was treated by Special Operations Paramedics before he and the group were transported to Sutherland Hospital.

A southerly search pattern was set up based on dye pack dropped from the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter. Four jetskis, as well as water police, assisted with the water search until 6pm when the search was suspended due to low-light. 

SLS Sydney Duty Officer Jackson Towns said, "Every service worked seamlessly together in this critical incident. Operations like this in the Royal National Park are particularly tricky due to the lack of radio and phone service combined with the big swell.

"We wrapped up the search for the evening but the air and water search will resume in the morning."

The incident occurred at the peak of the high-tide and with hazardous surf conditions. Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce reiterated the importance of not taking unnecessary risks.

"The last week has seen extremely dangerous surf and high tides. We continue to urge the public to stop, look and think before walking on rock platforms especially when conditions are as treacherous as they are at the moment.

"It's not only our beaches that are dangerous in these situations, rock platforms pose a significant and unpredictable threat." 

There have been 19 coastal drowning deaths in NSW since 1 December 2018. 

Beach Safety Tips

  • Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website

  • Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information

  • Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water

  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm

  • In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police

  • For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.

Top photo by Kane Hughes


Monday 25 February 2019