A Mexican national has drowned while swimming at an unpatrolled beach off Brunswick Heads. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS
A Mexican national has drowned while swimming at an unpatrolled beach off Brunswick Heads. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS

Tourist drowns at Northern NSW beach

A MEXICAN national has drowned while swimming at a northern NSW beach yesterday.

The 36-year-old man was swimming at an unpatrolled Brunswick Heads beach about 11:50am yesterday when he got caught in a rip.

In a statement, SLS NSW said the man 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..

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.

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.



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