Police, paramedics and surf life savers at Fingal Head, where a man fell into the water this afternoon.
Police, paramedics and surf life savers at Fingal Head, where a man fell into the water this afternoon. Scott Davis

Crews work to reach body of man swept to sea

UPDATE: 5.50pm

A MAN has passed away in the surf off the Tweed Coast this afternoon.

Tweed Byron Police District Superintendent Wayne Starling said two young men - both of them international backpackers working in the region - were swept to sea while swimming at Dreamtime Beach on the southern end of Fingal Head shortly after 3pm.

Supt Starling said one of the men was able to take himself safely to shore, while his companion, a poor swimmer, was sucked further to sea.

Despite a frantic effort from surf life savers, police and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, the man drowned.

Supt Starling said emergency services may have to postpone their retrieval of the man, whose body was close to dangerous rocks at the headland.

He described conditions in the water as "atrocious" and said rescuers were unable to use the helicopter near the headland or get a jetski close enough to the man's body to safely retrieve him.

"We can't use a helicopter because of the conditions," he said.

"It's all whitewhater so it's too dangerous and shallow to put someone in there.

"The jetski can't get close enough."

Supt Starling said they would continue to attempt to reach the man before sunset, but efforts will otherwise resume in the morning.

He said a team of Sydney-based police divers were on standby to assist tomorrow.

The incident has marked the fifth death at the headland since late 2015.

The southern beach is not a patrolled beach and surf life savers have often called for swimmers to avoid the area.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter has returned to its Lismore base.

UPDATE: 4.22pm

A RESCUE helicopter is still searching for a man in the sea off the Tweed Coast.

Emergency services were called to Fingal Head about 3.10pm after a man fell into the water at Fingal Head.

Tweed Byron Police District Superintendent Wayne Starling said the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was still searching the area.

"We're searching for a person," Supt Starling said.

UPDATE: 3.59pm

THE Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter is searching for a man in the water on the Tweed Coast.

The helicopter, along with other emergency services, was tasked to the scene after a 25-year-old man was swept out to sea about 3.10pm this afternoon.

Tweed police and Surf Life Saving crews are also involved in the search.

A Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter spokesman said the man had been seen about 50m offshore at Fingal Head.

Initial report: 3.51pm

EMERGENCY services have been called to an incident on the Tweed Coast.

A NSW ambulance spokesman said crews were called to Fingal Head about 3.10pm.

He said there were reports of one male in the water.

Ambulance crews remain on scene along with surf life savers and police.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter has also been tasked to the scene.



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