An 11-year-old boy is feared drowned after hazardous surf swept him out to sea off the NSW mid-north coast while his distraught family watched on.
Emergency services crews led by NSW Police resumed the search for the boy at Lighthouse Beach on Thursday morning.
The child is understood to have become caught in a rip in large and powerful surf conditions south of Watonga Rocks at Lighthouse Beach on Wednesday afternoon.
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The boy was pulled out in a rip while swimming in shallow water with his family. He has not been seen since.
A second child, his 17-year-old brother, was caught in the same rip but managed to get himself to shore.
The young boy was waist-deep in the water when he was dragged out and his older brother tried to rescue him, NSW Police Inspector Peter Neville said.
"The elder boy tried to assist the 11-year-old but was unable to pull him from the surf," Inspector Neville said.
NSW Ambulance Acting Superintendent David Horseman said the family is being supported as the search continues.
“The NSW Ambulance and Westpac Helicopter plus Marine Rescue are doing their very best to locate the missing child,” he said.
“This is an extremely difficult operation and our thoughts are with everyone involved,” said Surf Life Saving NSW chief Steven Pearce.
“We will continue to support the police and other agencies with whatever surf lifesaving assets are required.
“In the meantime we urge people to take care along the coast. We are imploring people to swim only at patrolled locations, in between the red and yellow flags this summer,” he said.
Large swell and king tides continue to batter the Hastings coastline.