A 27-year-old man has drowned at Watamolla Lagoon in the Royal National Park, north of Wollongong - the sixth death at the spot in five years.
Emergency services - including Surf Life Saving - responded to reports that two people had got into difficulties after jumping from a rock ledge into the lagoon just after 5pm on Monday.
A woman, aged in her 20s, was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics and taken to hospital. Her condition was reported as stable.
The Westpac rescue helicopter was also tasked to the scene, with a crewman lowered to the water to search for the missing man.
About 6.20pm, the body of a 27-year-old man was retrieved from the water.
"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts and swift actions of surf lifesavers and emergency service personnel, the man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at the scene by a NSW Ambulance doctor," said Surf Life Saving Sydney Duty Officer, Joel Wiseman.
It's the third death at the lagoon in 15 months, and sixth in the past five years.
A total of 12 drownings/deaths have occurred at Royal National Park beaches in general - including Figure 8 Pools - over this time, which authorities say is due to increased popularity of the park.
There has been a significant increase in the use of the Royal National Park with visitations up by 50.2 per cent between 2012 and 2018 to over six million visits per year and it is now the second busiest National Park in the state, according to Surf Life Saving NSW.
Wattamolla and Garie Beach are used by large numbers of people from a wide range of demographic backgrounds - including residents from Wollongong and Greater Sydney, and international visitors.
For this reason, Wattamolla beach is now patrolled by paid lifeguards during summer. Unfortunately, lifeguard services had finished for the day at the time the man disappeared in the lagoon.
"Because Wattamolla Beach is in such a remote area and has limited mobile phone reception, emergency communications is very challenging," Mr Wiseman said.
"However, we were able to quickly set up a portable radio repeater to assist police, NSW Fire and Rescue and other emergency services in the response."
National Parks and Wildlife Service have erected fences and warning signs to deter jumping at the lagoon, which attracts up to 2500 visitors on busy days.
Officers from the Sutherland Shire Police Area Command attended and have commenced an investigation.
A report will be prepared for the coroner, while inquiries continue.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
- with the St George Leader