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Man missing as dangerous swell from cyclone causes havoc along NSW coast

Sunday February 18, 2018 - 20:09 EDT
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Surf lifesavers rescued two people after their boat sank in high swells on Sydney's northern beaches. - ABC

One man is missing after being caught in a rip, and dozens of others have been rescued, as the Bureau of Meteorology issues a hazardous surf warning for the New South Wales coast.

Several beaches have been closed, with heavy swells and surf hitting Australia's east coast in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

Surf Life Saving NSW chief executive Steven Pearce said the conditions have led to one of the busiest days of the season, with lifesavers responding to dozens of rescues today.

A recovery operation is underway to find the body of a swimmer who went missing in rough surf on the NSW north coast yesterday.

The 22-year-old man got into trouble after becoming caught in a rip at Valla Beach at Nambucca yesterday evening.

Mr Pearce said authorities were preparing for the worst.

"We are no longer looking at this as a rescue operation more as a recover operation so we have a significant amount for assets up there surf lifesaving assets up there," he said.

"Emergency services are looking for this young man, we are always putting our hope out there but it has been a significant amount of time since this gentleman disappeared."

Meanwhile, two people have been rescued after their boat sank in high swells on Sydney's northern beaches.

Local lifeguards rescued the pair at Shelly Beach at Manly, where powerful waves and swells of more than 2 metres were reported this morning.

The hazardous surf warning is in place for Byron, Coffs, Macquarie, Hunter, Sydney, Illawarra, Batemans and Eden coasts.

Police Marine Area command is advising people to avoid fishing, swimming and boating activities.


© ABC 2018

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