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Byron Shire
June 7, 2023

Swimmer drowns at Brunswick Heads

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UPDATE: 07:24am February 1, 2019

A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner following the death of a swimmer at Brunswick Heads yesterday.

See also: Local role model drowns at Brunswick Heads 

Police have been told the 36-year-old Mexican national was swimming at the unpatrolled beach about 11.50am (Thursday 31 January 2019), when he got caught in a rip.

Surfers saw the man in difficulty and dragged him onto a board.

He was taken to shore where CPR began.

Officers from Tweed/Byron Police District arrived a short time later and took over CPR until paramedics arrived; however, the man was unable to be revived.

A post mortem examination will be conducted in coming days to determine the cause of death.

It’s believed the man had been working in the district and police are liaising with the Mexican embassy.


Lifeguards and emergency workers are yet again warning beachgoers to be safe and swim in patrolled areas after a swimmer drowned this morning at Brunswick Heads.

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 this morning.

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.

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.

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.

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  1. 23 drowning deaths in NSW since July, that’s a lot. Many of the beaches are unpatrolled in the region. Despite Tweed and Byron shire being a summer holiday destination. Byron beach has flagged areas but most or all of the surrounding beaches aren’t patrolled. Where I lived for several years , Pottsvile , the beach is only patrolled for a few weeks a year during the Christmas holidays. Fingal Heads beach has claimed numerous lives in the past year. We build our lives around the waterways but lack sufficient lifesaving staff, perhaps it’s about time it was taken seriously and pay lifesavers to work at every beach.

  2. There will never be enough life guards to patrol the whole coast, the government needs to make more of an effort at educating people visiting coastal areas of Australia that the ocean can be dangerous, even more so if you don’t understand it.

  3. That is very sad. What about putting up signs to warn people when there is a dangerous rip or swell? The article says it was a four foot swell, challenging for swimming. Was there any warning on the beach for those not familiar with surf? I saw a man drown at Bruns several years ago tragically – he was fairly young, in his 20s or 30s, and he and his girlfriend were visiting from Melbourne I read later. (The woman I saw on the beach was distraught – awful). There was a strong undercurrent in the surf that day after an earlier storm but you wouldn’t know it by looking. There was no warning sign that day.


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