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'Courageous' effort fails to save rock fisherman

A rock fisherman has died after falling into the water off Curl Curl Beach, despite another fisherman's "courageous" attempts to save him, emergency services say.

Police and paramedics were called just before 8.30am on Thursday, after witnesses described a fully dressed fisherman struggling to stay above the water, after falling off rocks 100 metres north of the North Curl Curl rock baths.

A nearby fisherman threw a life ring into the water, but the man had lost consciousness, a statement from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter said.

The fisherman jumped in, swam out to the man and put the life ring around him, before starting deep-water resuscitation, the statement said.

Local lifesavers paddled out to the fishermen on surfboards and brought both men back to shore.

One of the helicopter's crew was winched onto the sand, and worked alongside police and paramedics, but the man could not be revived.


Police said the man, believed to be in his 60s, was pronounced dead on the beach. A report will be prepared for the coroner.

"This is another tragic rock fishing accident," Westpac Life Saver chief executive Stephen Leahy said.

"Yet we must congratulate the second fisherman who had the foresight to have a life ring with him and we recognise his courageous attempts to save a fellow fisherman."

On July 18 a 26-year-old rock fisherman died after being swept off rocks at Cape Banks, near La Perouse.

In June a rock fishing trip near Lake Macquarie turned to tragedy for three young friends, Ben Winn, Trey Adamson and Niranda Blair.

Over the course of six days in May 2010 six people died while rock fishing south of Newcastle. More than 150 people have drowned while rock fishing in New South Wales in the past 20 years.

The government has funded workshops, a lifejacket giveaway program and distribution of DVDs as part of a safety program.