Fisherman drowns at Bar Beach after being ‘knocked into sea’ by wave

Responders: Bar Beach senior lifeguard David Reynolds leads police to a man who died at Susan Gilmore Beach. Picture: Max Mason-HubersAn elderly man has died on a popular Newcastle beach, only metres from where dozens of people were enjoying the afternoon sun.

A Police Rescue crew was working to remove the man’s body from Susan Gilmore Beach on Thursdayevening, after the fisherman was found floating, face-down in the water, at about 2.40pm.

Investigators were still working to notify the man’snext of kin last night.

Newcastle City Duty Officer Inspector Shane Buggy said police believed the man was a rock fisherman.

Police said the man was walking on the rocks when he was knocked into the ocean by a wave.

The lifeguard who found the man’s body told the Newcastle Herald thathe responded after reports of a person floating face-down in the surf.

Bar Beach senior lifeguard David Reynolds said a member of the public saw the elderly man fall and alerted the lifeguards.

Mr Reynolds said the man was reportedlywalking and carrying a fishing rod in shallow water on Susan Gilmore Beach when he fell.

“A bloke came running to me and said he saw a bloke floating face-down,” he said.

“A woman told a [council] ranger that she saw a man walking around with a fishing rod in the water and he fell face-down.”

Mr Reynolds said he conducted CPR on the man – who he estimated was in his 70s.

A Newcastle City Council ranger tried to help the lifeguard move the man’s body.

But Mr Reynolds said it had become wedged between rocks at the bottom of the cliff, sothey had to wait until more helparrived.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Scene contained: Police investigate the site where the body of a fisherman was found at Susan Gilmore Beach on Thursday afternoon. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Mr Reynolds said it appeared to him like the man had either suffered a medical episode before he fell or had been knocked off balance by the movement of the water.

Police and paramedics arrived soon after Mr Reynolds was alerted. They contained the scene, which is a popular route for beach walkers.

Meanwhile, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter rescued three scuba divers at Seal Rocks after they struck trouble on Thursday afternoon.

The man and two women found themselves in difficulty in the water just south of Boat Beach.

A Westpac spokesman said the man raised the alarm after he was able to get out of the water and seek help.

The rescue crew winched all three to the aircraft, to safety. They weren’t injured.

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