It wasn't the first time unfortunately that Surf Life Saving Illawarra branch president Peter Evert was called to a drowning.
Nevertheless "it wasn't easy" for him seeing another visitor to the region lose their life at Woonona Beach late Saturday afternoon.
A 41-year-old man died after trying to save three children swept into the water at Woonona Beach.
Wollongong police were told the children were playing on the rocks north of Woonona rock pool when they slipped and fell into the water.
Members of their family entered the water to try to help them.
Mr Evert, the duty officer called to the scene, said members of Woonona Board Riders went to their rescue, helping keep them afloat in the water until lifeguards on duty at neighbouring beaches arrived.
"When I arrived the person of interest was already on the beach and paramedics were working on him," he said.
"Two helicopters arrived soon after, which had doctors on board because there was nine patients essentially that were being treated.
"The three children were taken to hospital but have since been released."
The family are believed to be from Western Sydney.
Mr Evert said locals knew well of the "dangerous rips" where the man drowned.
"Board riders use the rip to actually go out surfing, it is a very prominent rip. There is a rip on the south side of Woonona Point and there is also a dangerous one on the north side of Woonona Point," he said.
'Swim between the flags. That is the most important message. If the flags aren't open or there is no lifesavers on duty than don't swim, that's most important.
"It is a difficult one but parents need to keep an eye on their children. Obviously in this circumstance the kids went away from the parents and weren't supervised properly."
This is a very sad incident. This family has lost a relative in the most tragic of circumstances.Surf Life Saving Illawarra branch president Peter Evert
Mr Evert added the incident was a tragic end to what had been a near perfect day on Illawarra beaches.
"This is a very sad incident. This family has lost a relative in the most tragic of circumstances," he said.
"The conditions today were calm on the beach. Unfortunately, three children from the man's family fell off the rocks and got caught in a rip in an unpatrolled area of the beach.
"He went into the water to rescue them but quickly got into trouble. Despite a fast response to the incident from Council Lifeguards, the day ended in tragedy.
"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man who drowned. They had been enjoying a family day on the beach in almost ideal conditions. We extend our condolences to the man's family at this time."
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