Tourist drowns on Diggers Beach

BEACH TRAGEDY: A 27-year-old French tourist drowned on Diggers Beach on Monday.
BEACH TRAGEDY: A 27-year-old French tourist drowned on Diggers Beach on Monday. FRANK REDWARD

A FRENCH national drowned in heavy surf on Coffs Harbour's Diggers Beach on Monday morning. 

The man, 27, went missing while swimming with his travelling companions just after 8am.

"They waded into waist deep water and I believe the French male had gone out a bit further than the others and from there got towed into the rip," Coffs Harbour Sergeant Lee Thomas said.  

Police said the man's friends made it back to shore called 000 and climbed the southern headland to try and sight the man.

The man's was found floating and unconscious some 15 minutes later by people on the beach.

"We are not sure whether he was washed back onto the beach or whether he attempted to swim back in through the heavy surf," Srgt. Thomas said.

NSW Ambulance Coffs Harbour Duty Operations Manager Andrew Chapman said attempts to revive the man were unsuccessful.

"Just as we were arriving on scene we were notified one person had been found deceased and they were recovered to the beach by other people," Mr Chapman said.

The man had been travelling along the coast of NSW with his friends in a van.

The area where they were swimming is noted for its strong rip. 

Lifeguards have again warned beachgoers to swim at Park Beach, which is patrolled between 9am and 4pm.     

"Unfortunately it is right at the end of the surf season," Coffs Harbour City Council's head lifeguard Greg Hackfath said.

"Diggers Beach only shut over the weekend and the first day being unpatrolled and pretty much the end of the season and someone comes down and ends up in the wrong spot and that is pretty much the result.

"The ocean has been up since last Thursday and it is not looking like settling down for another couple of days just yet and to be perfectly honest if you are inexperienced for certain only go to a patrolled beach," he said.

This latest tragedy comes after another emergency was reported on Diggers Beach at the weekend and follows two recent drowning deaths on local beaches.

A man, 32, drowned at South West Rocks on Saturday afternoon while swimming, and two weeks ago a kayaker drowned at Valla Beach in heavy surf.

On Saturday, paramedics and lifeguards were called to the southern end of Diggers Beach at 11.40am.

A male swimmer aged about 50 years was helped from the water by fellow swimmers after he got into trouble.

He was assessed at the scene and was not taken to hospital.  

Topics:  diggers beach drowning

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