A man is fighting for life and a 12-year-old boy in hospital after the pair were pulled from the water at Wollongong City beach on Sunday afternoon.
The incident unfolded about 4.30pm, prompting a mass response from emergency services.
A NSW Police spokeswoman said initial reports suggested the man, whose age was not known, had tried to rescue the boy when both got into trouble in the water.
“A surfer was able to bring the pair back towards the shore,” the spokeswoman said.
“Police also went into the water and they [officers] pulled them out onto the beach.”
Paramedics treated both on the beach for some time and performed CPR on the man.
The pair were taken to Wollongong Hospital – the man in a critical condition and the boy in a stable condition.
A NSW Ambulance rescue helicopter was also called to the scene and landed near the lighthouse on Flagstaff Hill.
The helicopter was not required to transport any patients, but its onboard paramedics assisted crews on the beach.
City beach was not patrolled on Sunday. Surf Life Saving patrols begin in two weeks.
4.55pm: At least two people have been transported to hospital after a rescue operation on City Beach on Sunday afternoon.
A large emergency services presence responded a surf rescue at Wollongong’s City Beach, just before 5pm.
Paramedics and police attended the beach, after being called out late on Sunday afternoon to reports several people were in the water.
Initial reports suggest paramedics have been working on at least two patients on the beach for some time, while others have been accompanied to hospital by police.
Reports also suggest several people, including some children, were pulled from the surf.
One man, said to be aged in his 20s, has been transported to Wollongong hospital in cardiac arrest.
Two rescue helicopter attended, with one landing at Flagstaff Hill. Other crews have been preparing to transport patients to hospital.
A witness at the scene, Tara of Unanderra, said she was at the beach with her children when she heard “yelling and screaming”.
“I could hear some kids screaming out, and then we looked and could see them floating out,” she said.
“There wasn’t enough help, they were in distress.”
She said she believed three people got in trouble in the water.
Dangerous surf warning current
A dangerous surf warning remains current for the Illawarra coast on Sunday evening.
Surf Life Saving Illawarra duty officer llawarra duty officer Daren Weidner urged people to take care.
“We’ve seen seas and waves of three to four metres,” Mr Weidner said.
“Although it is abating now, it’s been dangerous conditions all weekend. People need to heed to the warnings and make sure that they don’t go into dangerous surf and unpatrolled beaches.”
The Bureau of Meteorology has warned surf and swell conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating, and swimming.
The warning is in place until midnight. Conditions are expected to ease on Monday.