Man falls off cliff near Kiama blowhole

1pm: The body of the 65-year-old man who fell off rocks near Kiama blowhole was spotted by the Lifesaver 1 helicopter at 12.58pm. Boats are currently retrieving his body.

The man was found 500 metres off Surf Beach.




12.17pm: Kate Walsh: A Chinese tourist, Zhang Rong, who is visiting Kiama Blowhole on holidays said she was approached by the 60-year-old man, who told her that his friend had fallen into the water. 

A woman nearby called the police and Ms Rong assisted in translating for the Mandarin-speaking fisherman.

12.10pm: The latest from Kate Walsh at the scene:

Contrary to earlier reports, police confirmed the man who fell into the water was 65and his friend was 60, Lake Illawarra Police Command sergeant Jason Harrison said.

He said the man in the water was from "a Sydney suburb".

"There might have been a weight [in his backpack] contributing to him and his inability to remain above water," he said.

"He may have slipped or there may be some underlying health condition that caused him to fall into the water."

There is still no sign of the man, but the rescue helicopter has been called back to refuel - it had been searching for 50 minutes.

A surf lifesaving rescue boat and a private boat with police officers and a surf lifesaver on board are still searching.

The SES is conducting line searches for any signs of the man on land.


11.50am: Sgt Harrison told the Kiama Independent: ''‘The man was fully clothed, and had a back-pack trolley arrangement on his back, which caused some confusion a it was thought to be a life-jacket at first, unfortunately that carried a lot of weight and at the moment we’re thinking the worst.’'

11.37am: Lake Illawarra Local Area Command community safety officer Sergeant Jason Harrison told reporter Kate Walsh that a man and his friend were fishing off the extreme eastern end of Blowhole Point. 

"At one stage, his friend looked over to see the 65-year-old man was no longer standing there," Sgt Harrison said.

"In that time, he noticed waves had washed up the rocks."

Sgt Harrison said police believed the incident occurred about 10.25am, but had not confirmed the exact time.

He said the man was wearing a weighted fishing backpack.

"We are assuming he hasn't been able to remain afloat," he said.

The ambulance rescue helicopter is still on scene and the Kiama surf rescue also has a boat in water.

There are dozens of bystanders watching the rescue operation.



11.34am: A police statement said the 60-year-old man was fishing off rocks at Blow Hole Point when he was swept into water just before 10.30am.

11.30am: The missing man's friend, a 65-year-old man, alerted emergency services when he failed to surface after falling into the water.

A search involving Lake Illawarra Local Area Command, Marine Area Command, SES, the Westpac Lifesaver helicopter and Surf Life Saving Australia is underway.

11.19am: Polair and police divers have been called in to help find the man. He was wearing heavy fishing gear including a 10 kilogram backpack.

11.16am: It is believed two Asian men, both wearing black fishing gear and backpacks, were fishing when one of them was washed off the rocks.

11.10am: The man was wearing a fishing backpack.

11am: The ambulance rescue helicopter is searching the north east point near the Kiama blowhole. 

The man - believed to be a rock fisherman - has been spotted in the water.

Maritime rescue has also been called to the scene.


10.40am: Emergency services are working to rescue a 60-year-old man who is in the water after reports he fell off a cliff near the Kiama blowhole. 

It is unknown if he fell into the blowhole.

Paramedics, police and Kiama SES are at the scene.