Photo courtesy Abc News
As reported by Peter Hawkins for The Sydney Morning Herald.
A Sydney father holidaying on the NSW South Coast with his family drowned while attempting to rescue his two sons yesterday afternoon, police said.
The death comes just weeks after the drowning death of Shane O’Neill and his young sons, Riley and Travis, also on the South Coast.
Just before 5pm the 50-year-old man from Concord West spotted his two teenage sons in trouble in the surf at Mollymook Beach, near Ulladulla, and went to help.
Two surfers came to help and the boys, aged 19 and 17, made it safely to shore.
But the father got into difficulties and had to be brought into shore by the surfers and police, police said.
Emergency services officers and police tried to resuscitate the man but they were unsuccessful, police said.
Police said the boys were on bodyboards and the mother was on the beach watching as the events unfolded.
“It would appear that it’s a drowning,” Inspector Bill Carter, from Nowra, said.
“We’ve got to prepare a report for the coroner and carry out investigations into the death. We also have to get the results of the post mortem examination,” he said.
“It would appear they may have been caught in a rip.,” he said. “They’ve gotten into difficulty and dad’s gone into help and it’s gone bad … An unfortunate chain of events.”
Inspector Carter said both ambulances officers and police arrived at the beach quickly and lifesavers also attended.
He said there were not big surf conditions where the family got into trouble, but there were dangerous rips.
Inspector Carter said police were still interviewing witnesses and some of the man’s family have yet to be notified. He said the accident was a reminder of how dangerous the surf can be.
“It’s not uncommon in this area for people to get into trouble in surf, some with tragic results,” he said.
Rodney Austin, president of Mollymook Surf Lifesaving Club, said the surf club was three kilometres away, at the opposite end of the beach, and there were no flags at the beach as patrols did not start until Christmas.
“Our emergency call-out team were called and proceeded to the north end, but by the time they got there the father had been brought in unconscious,” he said.
NSW Premier Nathan Rees said the tragedy was a timely reminder about water safety.
“It’s another reminder of the paradox of the attraction of water, but also its danger,” he told reporters at Penrith in Sydney’s west on Friday.
“We can have all the signs up we like, we can have all the fences up we like. There is no substitute for vigilance.”
Three weeks ago a father and his two young sons drowned in choppy waters below a wharf at Tathra, on the South Coast.
For the full story head to The Sydney Morning Herald.