A MAN is lucky to be alive after being swept 50 metres out to sea in the middle of the night south of Sydney.
The 51-year-old was fishing off rocks at Jones Beach in Kiama around 1.30am on Saturday when tragedy struck.
Police say the man was hit by a large wave which washed him off the rocks and sucked him back into the ocean.
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The man’s friend raised the alarm and alerted located residents and emergency services.
The man, who was wearing a life jacket and was equipped with a torch, was located around 50m offshore.
He was rescued by the Kiama Surf Rescue jet boat and airlifted to St George Hospital with serious head injuries.
Police say the man remains in a serious but stable condition.
Authorities are urging rock anglers to stick to the safety guidelines for rock fishing to prevent emergency situations.
Rock anglers are urged to follow these safety tips when they venture out:
- Always wear a life jacket
- Make enquiries and check weather and conditions before you leave home
- Observe first/fish later: watch your intended fishing spot to get an idea of the conditions over a full swell/wave cycle
- Carry safety gear; head protection, as well as a float and line to help anyone else who might be washed into the water.
- Never fish by yourself and always stand within sight of each other
- Make sure you let family and friends know where you are going and when you’ll be back
- Carry a mobile phone
- Never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas and be aware that conditions may change dramatically in a short period of time
- Stay alert. Never turn your back on the sea
- If waves, the weather or swell threaten your fishing spot, leave immediately
- If in doubt, don’t go out
- In the event of an emergency, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
Further safety information can be found at www.safefishing.com.au
In addition, ‘angel rings’ or life buoys have been installed at black spots along the state’s coast by the Australian National Sport fishing Association, with the support of the Department of Sport and Recreation and NSW Sporting Injuries Insurance.
The flotation devices are located on rock platforms and easily accessible in case of an emergency.