A man has drowned at a Far North Coast beach.
A man has drowned at a Far North Coast beach. Warren Lynam

TRAGEDY: Man drowns in rip on unpatrolled beach

UPDATE 5.15pm: SURF Life Saving NSW said despite the best efforts of emergency services including lifeguards, paramedics, police, and members of the public a man couldn't be revived after getting into difficulty at the unpatrolled Brunswick Main Beach in Northern NSW on Thursday.

In a statement, SLS NSW said they understood the 36-year-old male, believed to be an inland resident, was swimming with a group in the waters approximately 100 metres to the south of the surf club when he got into trouble in a rip current at around 11:15am.

A female friend who was on shore witnessed the incident and frantically attracted the attention of two surfers in the area who were able to pull the unconscious swimmer onto their boards where they commenced CPR while paddling to shore.

Surf lifesaving assets including a Far North Coast Duty Officer, the Support Operations team, and an Australian Lifeguard Service Lifeguard from Byron Bay were all tasked to attend the scene. 

Once the man was returned to the shore intensive CPR with the ALS Lifeguard racing to the Brunswick clubhouse to retrieve a defibrillator to assist.

Despite the joint efforts of everyone involved all efforts to revive the man were unsuccessful.

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said that while the incident had a tragic outcome the joint efforts of the responders couldn't be faulted.

"The ALS lifeguards, police, paramedics, and of course the members of the public did their best under very difficult circumstances and did everything possible to help the swimmer.

"On behalf of the entire Surf Life Saving community we would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of the man who tragically lost his life," said Mr Pearce.

At the time of the incident the swell was around four foot and has been described as "challenging" for swimming.

Today's fatality lifts the NSW coastal drowning toll to 23 since last July and has prompted lifesavers to urge the public to head to Byron Bay Main Beach, which is the closest beach in the area on weekdays.


Original story: SWIMMERS have been urged to take care on the Far North Coast after a swimmer drowned this morning.

Surf Life Saving Far North Coast duty officer Jimmy Keough said emergency services were called to the beach at Brunswick Heads just before 11.30am today.

He said a man had been seen in trouble and was brought to shore by local surfers, who began CPR.

Lifesavers, lifeguards from Byron Bay and paramedics attended the scene, but the man could not be saved.

"Attempts at CPR at unsuccessful," he said.

He said a man in his 30s was declared deceased at the scene.

Mr Keough said it was a tragic end to what had been a good two months for the region.

"It's a very tragic end to a fantastic summer we've had here," he said.

He said there had been no other major incidents in the surf on the Far North Coast all summer.

Tweed Byron Police District Inspector Luke Arthurs said the man had not yet been formally identified.

Mr Keough said the stretch of beach where the man got into trouble was unpatrolled and there were rips in the area at the time.

He urged swimmers to only swim in patrolled areas and swim between the flags.

"It's an unpatrolled part of the beach," he said.

"Conditions at the time were unstable in the area and there were some large rips."

Mr Keough said the efforts of surfers who helped the man were "valiant".

For information on patrols and beach conditions, visit beachsafe.org.au.




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
  • Don't forget to be sun safe by remembering to: Slip on some protective clothing, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Slide on a pair of sunglasses, Seek some shade and Sip on lots of water to stay hydrated.

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

It is understood that the 36-year-old male believed to be an inland resident was swimming with a group in the waters approximately 100 metres to the south of the surf club when he got into trouble in a rip current at around 11:15am.