Harrowing footage shows the moment a surfer was swept up in treacherous waves and dragged under a storm water pipe in a tragedy that cost him his life.
The 44-year-old man was pulled to shore on Collaroy Beach, on Sydney’s northern beaches, at about 12.45pm on Monday.
Carol Chaffer and her 12-year-old son Sam, a nipper at Collaroy Surf Life Save Club braved the conditions as waves pummelled the shore to drag the man, who was unconscious, to safety.
They performed CPR until paramedics arrived and whisked him away to Royal North Shore Hospital in a critical condition.
The man died in hospital a short time later.
In footage of the incident, the man was seen stretching on the shore before braving the waves.
But the current quickly dragged him left toward the storm water pipe. He struggled against the tide for about three minutes before he was swept under the water.
He didn’t resurface.
A surfer has died after being pulled from the water near a storm drain at Collaroy Beach. Pictured: Emergency crews on the scene
After a weekend of wild winds and torrential rain, huge swells were recorded at Sydney beaches on Monday.
The deluge caused flash flooding in parts of New South Wales and Canberra, while Perth was also hammered by the downpour.
‘Both Carol and Sam epitomise who and what our lifesavers are, no matter whether they are on patrol between the red and yellow flags or off duty,’ Steven Pearce, SLSNSW CEO, said after they dragged the surfer from the water.
‘We are incredibly proud of their actions, as we are thoughtful for the family of this young man.’
Ms Chaffer said it was her son who first noticed that something had gone awry.
‘We were down the other end of the beach and my son said, ‘mum he’s gone under the pipe’, so we came down and eventually he popped out the other side of the pipe,’ Ms Chaffer told 9News.
‘Then two people jumped down and grabbed him, we pulled him out and started CPR.’
A witness at the scene described the ordeal as one of the ‘most horrific things I’ve ever seen in my life’.
In footage of the incident, the man was seen stretching on the shore before braving the waves. But the current quickly dragged him left toward the storm water pipe. He struggled against the tide for about three minutes before he was swept under the water
Paramedics performed CPR on the man at Collaroy Beach (pictured), on the northern beaches, at about midday on Monday
‘Horrendous conditions and something I will never forget,’ the woman said.
A hazardous surf warning will remain in place for Monday and Tuesday in place for the Coffs Coast, Macquarie Coast, Hunter Coast, Sydney Coast, Illawarra Coast, Batemans Coast and Eden Coast.
The man’s death comes just a day after a kayaker was pulled from fast-moving waters in Canberra after he was separated from his group.
About 6pm on Sunday, the body of a missing kayaker was pulled from Murrumbidgee River, south of Canberra, highlighting the dangers of getting caught out during the deluge.
The man was reported missing about 2pm after he was separated from his kayaking group amid rising river levels, torrential rain and increasingly difficult conditions. His kayak reportedly got caught under a bridge.
The State Emergency Service received 1,600 calls for help across NSW over the weekend as torrential rain and winds downed trees, damaged roofs and flooded roads.
Police, ambulance and the NSW Rural Fire Service were on the scene
Manly fast ferries were cancelled on Monday morning due to large swells in the harbour, while train services on the south coast line were briefly disrupted.
Damaging winds with gusts more than 90km/h have been recorded along the Sydney and Illawarra coast and will move up the NSW coast.
A severe weather warning remains in place for a large stretch of the NSW coast.
The SES issued three evacuation orders late on Sunday after up to 200mm of rain hit several south coast towns in the previous 24 hours and up to 300mm in isolated areas.
The SES ordered hundreds of residents in Moruya, Sussex Inlet and Nowra suburbs including Terara, East Nowra, Worrigee and North Nowra to move to higher ground. The Shoalhaven River will peak on Monday at about 4.1 metres – a lower level than originally feared.
Low-lying areas of Terara Village, Ferry Lane, Lyrebird Drive Moss Street, Hyam Street, Terara Road, Bolong Road and Burrier Road may experience flooding.
Heavy rain and howling winds batter the New South Wales south coast, while Sydney and the Blue Mountains are also being lashed by bad weather. Pictured: A car in Canberra submerged in rising floodwaters
Cars were caught in rising waters in Canberra on Sunday (pictured). The SES has told residents in Queanbeyan in the Australian capital’s eastern fringe the surging flood waters should not be considered a ‘tourist attraction’
Minor flooding occurred along the St Georges Basin at Sussex Inlet and Island Point while 23 homes remain cut off at Broughton Vale near Berry.
By Monday morning, flooding at the Moruya River was minor and SES Commissioner Carlene York said the Moruya CBD evacuation order would soon be lifted.
Some 40 flood rescues have been required in NSW to date.
About 2,000 Endeavour Energy customers in NSW remained without power on Monday afternoon, with storms creating 270 electrical hazards from fallen trees and branches.
‘Localised flooding on parts of the south coast are hampering crews from accessing damaged parts of the network in some areas,’ the company said in a statement.