News State NSW News Police find body, drowning toll rises to five
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Police find body, drowning toll rises to five

Five drownings in NSW
Five men have died in NSW waters since Christmas. Photo: Supplied.
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A 25-year-old man’s body has been found in the Nepean River on Tuesday, bringing to five the number of men who have drowned in New South Wales over the Christmas period.

The man’s body was located in water within the Bents Basin Conservation Area south of Sydney about 8.30am on Tuesday.

He had been swimming with friends on Boxing Day but disappeared about 3.30pm, not long after entering the water.

There did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the man’s death, police said.

It was the latest in a string of water-related deaths in NSW during the festive period.

NSW drownings
Kids cool off at the Nepean River near Penrith, west of Sydney, where one of the men drowned on Monday. Photo: AAP.

Earlier on Boxing Day afternoon, police said a 60-year-old Grafton man drowned after trying to help his four nieces at Wooli Beach north of Coffs Harbour.

The girls, aged between 10 and 16, were caught in a rip.

Late yesterday, police divers found the body of a 27-year-old man who disappeared while swimming in the Kangaroo River in the Shoalhaven region.

five drownings in NSW
Rescuers search for the man on the Kangaroo River. Photo: ABC News.

Also in Shoalhaven, a 56-year-old Kensington man was found unconscious in the surf at Merry Beach at Kiola about 6.30pm. He could not be revived.

On Christmas Day, a 27-year-old man drowned at Wattamolla Lagoon in Royal National Park near Sutherland.

A toddler also died in hospital on Boxing Day, nearly a week after she and her twin brother were found unconscious in a pool in Sydney’s north-west.

The 23-month-old boy and girl were pulled from the backyard pool of a Kellyville Ridge home on December 20.

Off-duty police officers performed CPR

In the case of the Coffs Harbour death, Liam Howitt from Surf Life Saving NSW said a rip at Wooli Beach had carried the group of girls about 60 metres north of the flags.

The 60-year-old, who had been on the beach with his nephew, went in to help them.

“All four people that were in the water were rescued by the lifeguards, however when they turned around, the realised the man had got into difficulty,” said Mr Howitt.

He was pulled to shore but could not revived.

Chief Inspector Shari Allison from Coffs Harbour Police said two off-duty officers stepped in to help but were unable to save the men.

We had two off-duty police officers who were there with their families, and they actually performed CPR on the gentleman for over an hour until Westpac life saver rescue helicopter and a medical doctor were able to attend.”

Mr Howitt said it was crucial that people swam at patrolled beaches.

“I think that’s what yesterday’s incident does highlight the importance of swimming in a patrolled location,” he said.

“Had this occurred at an unpatrolled beach we could have been talking about a mass casualty event.”

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