NSW Police has confirmed the drowning of a 50-year-old mother of two from Sydney yesterday afternoon at Congo Beach, south of Moruya, while attempting to rescue one of her children.
Just before 4.30pm on Sunday 17 January, emergency services were called to Congo Beach after reports a woman and a boy were stuck in a rip.
Surf Life Saving NSW believe the woman may have entered the water to assist her son who was caught in a rip but quickly got into difficulty herself.
NSW Police have been told a nearby surfer assisted the woman and boy back to shore, where they were pulled from the water by witnesses.
Witnesses commenced CPR before NSW Ambulance paramedics and Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter crew arrived on the scene and took over, but the woman died a short time later.
The 10-year-old boy was assessed by paramedics and was uninjured.
According to Surf Life Saving duty officers who attended, surf conditions at the time of the incident were quite large, with a 1.5 metre swell and large sets of waves hitting the beach.
Steven Pearce, CEO of Surf Life Saving NSW, said that the incident was a tragic end to what should have been a happy day on the beach for the young family.
“It is a natural reaction to race into the water when we see our family and friends get into difficulty, but we’re pleading with people to stop and think for a moment before diving in and to look for a nearby rescue device, or even an esky lid or bodyboard, to use as a flotation device. It can make a huge difference to the outcome,” Mr Pearce said.
This is the third incident since 1 July 2020 in NSW where a bystander has drowned while attempting to rescue someone caught in a rip.
Officers from South Coast Police District attended and commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact NSW Crime Stoppers either online or on 1800 333 000.
Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.