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Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

Surfer confirmed drowned at Fingal Head

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Fingal Head rock platform. Photo geolocation.ws
Fingal Head, where treacherous surf conditions took the life of a surfer on Sunday, October 22. Photo geolocation.ws

A man has tragically drowned after he went missing while bodyboarding at Fingal Beach near Tweed Heads on Sunday.

It is understood that the local man aged in his early 20s was bodyboarding with a group of friends at the northern headland at around 11:30am when got into difficulty.

Police have been he lost his board and attempted to climb onto the rocks.

This prompted a large-scale multi-agency rescue operation with the State Operations Centre co-ordinating the tasking of NSW assets.

Surf Lifesavers from Cudgen Headland, Fingal Rovers, and Cabarita emergency callout teams all volunteered their services and manned inflatable rescue boats (IRB) during the operation, which was led by NSW Police, and also included Marine Rescue craft.

At the peak of the search, there were five IRBS on the water, along with jet skis from the Far North Coast Support Operations Branch and from Queensland.

Additionally a helicopter from Queensland was also tasked to assist in the search and it was from there that they were able to locate the missing man.

At around 1:30pm, some two hours after the incident began, the man was located approximately 200 metres north of the headland and 100 metres out to sea.

He was pulled into an IRB and transported to shore where CPR was commenced but unfortunately all attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

At the time of the incident conditions were described as challenging with a strong wind onshore and consistent waves of around 1.5 metres.

Surf Life Saving NSW state duty officer Jimmy Keogh praised the efforts of all those involved in the rescue effort and noted the outstanding support from Queensland ahead of what is shaping up to be a busy summer.

‘All the lifesavers involved went above and beyond in their efforts to both locate and then try to save the missing man.

‘What was really pleasing was how well all the agencies co-operated in what was a challenging and emotional situation as there were a lot of assets out on the water. I know they worked really hard to get a positive outcome.

‘Unfortunately we didn’t have the outcome we wanted and our sincere condolences go to the man’s family and friends in this difficult time,’ said Mr Keogh.

The lifesavers involved will participate in a critical incident debrief.

Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident are continuing with a report to be prepared for the coroner.


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