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‘Just horrendous’: Three people drown on NSW coast

Police are continuing their search of the Port Kembla foreshore in the Illawarra region of NSW after three men were swept into the sea and drowned overnight.

Witnesses say a group of men were standing on rocks near an area known as Hill 60 when a large wave hit them knocking them into the surf.

Police attend the scene in Port Kembla where a group of men were standing on rocks near an area known as Hill 60 when a large wave hit them knocking them into the surf. (9News)

A full-scale search of land, air and seas began around 10pm with the bodies of three men recovered from the water soon after.

While they are yet to be formally identified, police believe two men, aged in their forties, are from Green Valley, while a third man is believed to be aged 69 from Campsie.

The two men from Green Valley are members of the same family but were not known to the 69-year-old.

“They are total strangers but all came to the same location to enjoy their fishing,” Acting Superintendent Gordon Dunlop said.

A rescue helicopter searches the water near where a group of people were swept into the ocean. (9News)
Police attend the scene in Port Kembla where a group of men were standing on rocks near an area known as Hill 60 when a large wave hit them knocking them into the surf. (9News)

“We are speaking with the families and we share their grief.”

Two other people were able to make it ashore who were treated for minor injuries by NSW Ambulance.

“There were number of families out there, just enjoying their fishing, a rogue wave came through and three lost their lives … it was a very distressing scene last night,” NSW Ambulance Norm Reese said.

Three people have died after being swept into the surf at Hill 60 Lookout in Port Kembla this evening. (Google Maps)

“It’s not pleasant part of our job … we all see too many of these things.”

SLSNSW Director of Lifesaving, Joel Wiseman extended his condolences to the families affected.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those who have died. Tragedies like this are sadly too familiar to our volunteer lifesavers and lifeguards and to lose three people in one incident is just horrendous,” he said in a statement.

Three people have died after being swept into the surf at Hill 60 Lookout in Port Kembla this evening. (Getty)

“Rock fishing is very popular in this area, but sadly this location has seen numerous incidents and drownings over the years.”

The search continues this morning for property and belongings of those involved however police do not believe there are any other victims.

As inquiries continue, police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact Lake Illawarra police or Crime Stoppers.

A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

The three victims are among a concerning series of incidents in recent days.

Surf Life Saving have received a number of callouts around the state, many of them have been rock-related with people either jumping or being swept from rocks into the ocean.

A man in his 20s is still missing in Coffs Harbour after being thought to have been knocked into choppy seas on Thursday night.

There have been five coastal drownings or deaths in the last six days.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Source: 9News | World News

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