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In the space of just a few hours, two men have died along the NSW coast in separate incidents.

Today at 10.40am at Catherine Hill Bay south of Newcastle, surf lifesavers and lifeguards attempted CPR on a scuba diver who was pulled from the water suffering a suspected cardiac arrest. Sadly however, he was unable to be revived.

At around 11.30am at Urunga on the North Coast, surf lifesavers responded to a request from Police to assist two people treading water at the mouth of the river. Once on scene, an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) was able to retrieve a man and bring him to shore, however CPR efforts were unsuccessful and he was declared deceased by paramedics. The second person is believed to be a child, who managed to get back to shore unassisted.

Urunga Patrol Captain Garry Howe was the IRB driver and said when they got to the river mouth, there was a crowd on the beach pointing to where the man was floating. He was unconscious and they pulled him into the IRB and commenced CPR. They landed the IRB and police assisted with CPR until the Ambulance arrived.

Two patrol members drove the 4WD vehicle up the beach to assist the 14-year old boy who had made his own way to shore.

Garry Howe said that people walk along the boardwalk and jump in at the unpatrolled beach at the end.

“It’s a really nice looking beach, but very dangerous. There are always people swimming there on a nice day.”

He praised his team of lifesavers, saying everyone performed very professionally. “We all worked together and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce is urging people to take extra care for the remainder of the long weekend and school holidays.

“We are doing all we can to protect the public and holidaymakers across the state. Please swim at patrolled beaches only and be aware of the conditions and your own abilities if you are out and about on the water,” he said.

“Every drowning is a tragedy but two deaths in one day is heartbreaking for everyone involved and our thoughts are with the families of the victims.”

The NSW coastal death toll now stands at 8 since July 1 2019.


  • 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.


Sunday 6 October 2019