A search operation for a missing swimmer at Pebbly Beach on the NSW North Coast has been suspended on Saturday evening after fading light made it unsafe for the operation to continue safely.
The 17-year-old was swimming with two friends at the isolated and unpatrolled beach north of Coffs Harbour when the trio were washed into a rip current just before 4pm.
Two of the group were able to return to shore and alert authorities, but as they looked back into the water there was no sign of the missing teenager.
It is understood that he was not a strong swimmer.
After reports of the incident began to emerge a multi-agency rescue effort was immediately launched.
NSW Water Police led the search with jet skis from across the North Coast branch placed on standby however due to the fading light and distance to get to the location were stood down in the late afternoon.
A Duty Officer has also been in constant contact to provide support where possible.
An ambulance helicopter provided aerial support while three jet skis crewed by members of the public scanned for several hours after the alarm was raised.
Conditions for the rescuers have been described as “challenging” with the swell around the 2-4ft mark and visibility to the bottom less than a metre.
A decision on the status of the search is expected to made on Sunday morning with Surf Life Saving assets available to provide assistance if requested.
Today’s incident comes 24 hours after the tragic drowning of another young man in a rip current at Palm Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Volunteer lifesavers will be out in force each weekend and Public Holiday until the 2016/17 season concludes on Tuesday 25 April. Additionally a number of beaches across NSW will be patrolled on weekdays throughout the School Holidays.
Tips For Keeping Safe At The Beach
• 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 your 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