Man dies, children rescued after being swept off rocks near Wollongong, police say

We’re sorry, this service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.


This was published 8 months ago

Man dies, children rescued after being swept off rocks near Wollongong, police say

By Georgina Mitchell

A man has drowned and three children have been taken to hospital after the children were swept off rocks at Woonona Beach, near Wollongong, on Saturday afternoon and their relatives entered the water to try to help them.

Police were told a group of family members and friends were at the beach when the children, who were playing in the water, were swept out to sea.

The scene at Woonona Beach on Saturday.

The scene at Woonona Beach on Saturday.Credit:Nine News

"Bystanders used jet-skis and surfboards to help the children back to shore. However, a man believed to be aged in his 40s was pulled unconscious from the water," a police spokesperson said.

"NSW Ambulance paramedics worked to resuscitate the man, however he died at the scene."

Emergency services were called about 5.30pm, with seven ambulances and two helicopters responding.

Vision from the scene showed several shallow rock pools near to where emergency services congregated on the sand.

Six adults and three children were assessed by paramedics at the scene. All three children were taken to Wollongong Hospital with minor injuries.

Five of the adults did not require hospital treatment, while the remaining adult could not be revived.


Inspector Matt Sterling from NSW Ambulance said emergency services were initially told up to 10 people were in distress in the water, but when paramedics arrived some people had already been rescued.

Inspector Sterling said many of the people were from the same family, and the catalyst for the incident appears to have been an attempt to help the children.

"Having spoken to the family, they've just indicated they believed three of the children were in trouble in the water and the remainder of the family has gone in to assist," he said.

Two helicopters were initially tasked to the scene for a search and rescue, until it became clear that all people in distress were out of the water.

The crews on board then helped with the attempted resuscitation.

"One of the initial problems was actually trying to ascertain how many people were in the water, whether everyone was out safely, and certainly who needed a medical assessment," Inspector Sterling said.

He described the situation as "absolutely heartbreaking".

"No words can describe the scene we were faced with today," he said.

Start your day informed

Our Morning Edition newsletter is a curated guide to the most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald’s newsletter here, The Age’s here, Brisbane Timeshere, and WAtoday’s here.

Most Viewed in National