Woman dies after ocean rescue at Killalea

A woman has died after being swept into the ocean off Killalea Beach while rock fishing with her husband on Saturday morning.

The couple was fishing off rocks in Killalea State Park at Shell Cove early in the morning when the man noticed his wife was missing.

Police received a Triple Zero call from the man around 6.36am, and a search was initiated involving surf lifesavers, Wollongong police, Shellharbour Marine Rescue and the Wollongong Ambulance Rescue helicopter.

The 48-year-old woman was sighted in the ocean about 7.30am by the helicopter crew and a SLSA jetboat retrieved her from the ocean.

She was taken to the Minnamurra boat ramp where CPR was initiated by surf lifesavers before NSW Ambulance paramedics took over; however, she died at the scene.

At a briefing at Oak Flats police station at 12.30pm, Sergeant Susan Huggins of Lake Illawarra Police said the couple, who were Asian, were believed to be from Sydney.

''The woman was not wearing a life vest,'' Sgt Huggins said.

''We have had quite rough surf conditions down here this week.

''The South Coast is a popular spot for rock fishing and this is not an isolated incident so I would remind anyone undertaking that form of recreation to use the correct safety devices.''

Sgt Huggins said investigations were ongoing and police from Lake Illawarra Local Area Command would prepare a brief for the coroner.

She urged witnesses or anyone with information in relation to the incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Those who plan to rock fish should take the following precautions to help ensure safety:

  • Always letting family or friends know where you are going and when you’ll be back; 
  • Never fish by yourself, fish in a group of at least three people and keep in sight of each other. If someone is washed into the water one person should keep watch while the other alerts emergency services;
  • Wear light clothing that will let you swim easily if you are washed in;
  • Wear a life jacket and carry safety gear including ropes and torches;
  • Never fish in exposed areas, especially during rough or large seas;
  • Observe first and fish later. Make sure you know the swell and wave cycle, and what the tides are doing;
  • Plan an escape route in case you get washed in. Stay calm if you are washed in. Swim away from rocks and look for a safe place to come in or stay afloat and wait for help to arrive;
  • Stay alert. Don’t ever turn your back on the sea; and
  • Ask for advice from locals, they can tell you if an area is dangerous.
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