A search at the mouth of the Bega River, north of Tathra. Photo: Ben Smyth
A teenager died while swimming in Tathra on the south coast on Wednesday afternoon.
Emergency services confirmed a 19-year-old Bega man was swimming with four friends when he and another 19-year-old were dragged into deeper water by an outgoing tide.
Far South Coast Surf Lifesaving duty officer Andrew Edmunds said the teenager was swimming at the Bega River mouth, north of Tathra, when they got into trouble.
The search for two missing men ended in tragedy, with one man's death. Photo: Ben Smyth
Three members of the group made their way to safety.
Tathra Surf Life Savers, Police and marine rescue crews, assisted by the Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopter were called to the scene about 4.30pm.
One man was rescued by a member of the Tathra Surf Club emergency response team after being found clinging to a log while the second man had to be winched from the sea. He was spotted in the water by police and Tathra surf life savers in an inflatable rescue boat.
The man was airlifted to a nearby sports ground and CPR was carried out for more than half an hour but the teenager died at the scene.
His identity has not been released.
''The male was winched into the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and landed at a nearby oval where CPR was commenced," a Surf Lifesaving spokesman said.
"The Snowy Hydro Helicopter arrived and continued with attempts to resuscitate the man for over an hour but sadly he couldn't be revived."
The man's death coincided with the release of Royal Life Saving's national drowning report for 2013, which showed 291 people drowned nationally between July 1 2012 and June 30 2013; a five per cent increase from the previous year.
The ACT had an increased number of drownings in 2012/13 after three years of decline, with four drowning deaths, the second highest number seen in the last 10 years.
The report highlighted a "steep increase" in drownings among the over 55 age bracket and children under five, and identified alcohol intoxication as a high risk factor for drowning.
Nationally, 291 people drowned in Australian waterways, with inland waterways continuing to account for the largest number of drowning, with 99 deaths.
Two of the ACT deaths were in inland waterways, which Cherry O'Connor, Executive Director of the Royal Life Saving Society ACT says is "extremely concerning".
"These areas are often isolated and a long way from help in an emergency. The high number of inland drowning deaths has prompted an urgent focus on identifying and then acting on inland drowning black spots in communities across the country," Ms O'Connor said.
Males are four times more likely to drown than females prompting calls for men to curb risky behaviour around the water.