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A 20-year-old man is still missing after he was believed to have been washed away yesterday in rough seas off Coffs Harbor.

A 24-year-old woman told police that she had been walking in front of the man last night when a large wave hit the breaking wall behind her; he turned around and the man was gone.

Swimmers at Bondi Beach on a gloomy morning as a dangerous surf warning remains in effect for January 20, 2021. (Brook Mitchell)

Police began a large-scale search of the area, assisted by the Marine Area Command, Marine Rescue, NSW Ambulance, local first responders and a rescue helicopter.

A short time later, a local family contacted the police after their son failed to return home from a walk on the beach.

The young man’s car was found in the Gallows Beach parking lot, just steps from the rupture wall. The police think it is probably the same person.

The search in the water was suspended at 10 p.m., however, patrols of the beach continued throughout the night, but there have been no signs of the man.

Swimmers at Bondi Beach on a gloomy morning as a dangerous surf warning remains in effect for January 20, 2021. (Brook Mitchell)

He is described as in his 20s, Mediterranean / Middle Eastern in appearance, with a muscular build and dark hair. It is possible that he wore a red shirt, with gray or beige shorts and red shoes.

The search will continue today with the forecast for more dangerous conditions for the New South Wales coast.

Today there is a warning about dangerous surf for communities from Sydney to Byron Bay, and surfers, swimmers and boaters are urged to exercise special caution.

“People should consider staying out of the water and avoiding walking near areas exposed to waves,” said a warning from NSW police.

Several beaches on Sydney’s east coast were closed to swimmers yesterday afternoon due to dangerous current and heavy swell.

Swimmers at Bondi Beach on a gloomy morning as a dangerous surf warning remains in effect for January 20, 2021. (Brook Mitchell)

The number of summer drowning victims in Australia is currently 22, and Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) urges people to be particularly cautious over the upcoming long weekend.

“We know that on holidays people like to be in and around the water with family and friends, and that these celebrations often include alcohol. But the simple fact is that alcohol doesn’t mix well when swimming, boating or fishing, “SLSA General Coastal Safety Manager, Shane Daw said in a statement.

“We know that young men are 1.8 times more likely to drown on holidays and, in too many cases, while under the influence of alcohol.

“So for everyone, but particularly for men, the message this Australia Day weekend is simple: don’t mix alcohol with swimming and please swim off a patrolled beach.”

Anyone with information about this incident should contact Coffs Harbor Police or Crime Stoppers.


www.9news.com.au

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