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Update: Search for missing snorkeler on South Coast enters day three

David Murtagh26 January 2021
Richmond Beach

NSW Police are assisting in the search of Richmond Beach. Photo: NPWS/Michael van Ewijk.

UPDATED 27 January, 10:00 am: The search for a 39-year-old man who went missing while snorkelling on the NSW South Coast on Monday (25 January) afternoon is entering its third day.

Cheryl McCarthy, director of Surf Life Saving NSW, Far South Coast Branch, said her team “won’t stop looking” despite a southerly wind and low water visibility hampering Wednesday’s search.

“We’re always hopeful of bringing someone home to their family,” Cheryl said.

“A search of the shoreline will continue and I anticipate the helicopter will be in the air to do some runs and prepare marine rescue boats, but we’re experiencing very tricky conditions at the moment.

“The swell and wind over the past few days have churned up a lot of sand, so it’s very challenging to see in the water and not ideal for our guys on the water today.”

Anyone who sees anything unusual in the water or on the shoreline over the coming days is urged to call triple zero (000) or the police assistance line (131 444).

The man went missing around 3:00 pm on Monday while snorkelling at Richmond Beach in the Murramarang National Park, just north of Batemans Bay.

While the snorkeler had a lot of gear with him, unusually, he didn’t take it with him on his last dive, Cheryl said.

He was therefore without a floatation device in a swell of between 1.5 and 2 metres.

Emergency services were called to the beach when the snorkeler didn’t return and commenced a search.

However, they could only search for about one hour before it became dark and the search was called off.

On Tuesday, the search resumed, with emergency services searching between Batemans Bay and Malua Bay.

The search includes officers attached to South Coast Police District, Surf Life Saving NSW, Marine Rescue, Eurobodalla Shire Council Lifeguard and the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter.

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