A man drowned in the Richmond River at Ballina on Saturday afternoon.
At about 4.30pm the 35-year-old Korean man was swimming with three friends at The Spit, near the Missingham Bridge.
Police were told the four swimmers were in up to their waists when they all got into difficulty.
A local surf instructor went to the aid of the men and managed to get three of them back to shore when he noticed the 35-year-old man was still missing.
A jet boat rescue vessel and the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter located the man, who was pulled from the water unconscious. He was unable to be revived.
Inquiries are continuing and police from the Richmond Local Area Command are preparing a report for the coroner.