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Fisherman dies after falling off cliff at Kiama blowhole

Emergency services search for a rock fisherman on Friday.

Emergency services search for a rock fisherman on Friday. Photo: Greg Totman

A 65-year old Sydney fisherman has died after falling off a cliff at the Kiama blowhole. 

The man was fishing with a friend, also in his 60s, near the popular tourist spot on the NSW south coast.

"At one stage, his friend looked over to see [he] was no longer standing there," Lake Illawarra community safety officer Sergeant Jason Harrison told the Illawarra Mercury.

The Kiama blowhole, in a file picture.

The Kiama blowhole, in a file picture. Photo: Adam McLean

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

It is understood the man fell into the ocean about 10.30am on Friday. 

His friend contacted emergency services when the man failed to resurface.

Volunteers from Kiama SES assisting with the search for a missing man at Kiama. Photo: @illawarramerc pic.twitter.com/N8cEy49TxQ

The fisherman was believed to be wearing fishing equipment and a heavy backpack that weighed more than 10 kilograms. 

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

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

Maritime rescue and an ambulance rescue helicopter searched for the man for more than two hours, before spotting his body 500 metres off Surf Beach about 1pm. 

Lifesaver 1 chopper now on the scene as search for man believed swept of rocks at #kiama continues @illawarramerc pic.twitter.com/o1jGqHjnyv

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter executive officer Stephen Leahy said the search helicopter was deployed from Sydney and surf and search conditions were reasonable on the south coast. 

- with Kate McIlwain, Kate Walsh, Henry Belot and the Illawarra Mercury 

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