Man dead and children saved in separate drowning incidents
A MAN has drowned in a Sydney river while brave bystanders have rescued two children from choppy waters in the city's north in two separate incidents during the first weekend of summer.
The 32-year-old man was found face down in the Colo River just before midday after he went swimming with friends. Police are investigating reports he was seen jumping from the Putty Road bridge before he went missing.
"His swimming skills weren't too good. He tried to save himself but unfortunately it got a bit too much for him, the current," one witness told 7 News.
Greg hicks and his wife rushed into the water to save him - searching for about 20 minutes before desperately carrying out CPR.
"We finally found him after about 15 to 20 minutes," he told 9 news.
Witnesses carried out CPR while paramedics were en route but he died at the scene.
The tragedy came just an hour before a brave bystander rescued a girl when it was realised she was missing when her cousin was seen face down in the water at Narrabeen Lagoon.
Northern Beaches Police Area Command Acting Inspector Simon Whitfield said the woman called for help when she saw her son face down in the water a few metres out from the edge.
He was pulled out semiconscious while about 30 bystanders rushed into the water to look for the missing girl, the woman's niece. The boy regained full consciousness soon after he was pulled from the water.
Inspector Whitfield said one of the bystanders, who has not yet been identified, managed to find the girl submerged but floating just below the surface, about 15m out from the shore.
"She was found purely by luck," he said. "He commenced CPR on the way back in."
Another man told the network he saw a hero rescue the girl in traumatic scenes.
"He actually pulled her out of the water and carried her back to shore, giving her CPR on the way back to the shore," he said.
"It's something very upsetting to see, so don't take your eyes off your children and learn CPR."
Bystanders took over once they got to shore, with paramedics arriving soon after that.
"The bystanders did get her breathing again," he said.
Inspector Whitfield described the man's actions as heroic and said it was likely he would be nominated for an award.
He said the young girl could have died had CPR not been started so quickly and he praised the efforts of all the bystanders who took part in the dramatic search and rescue.
Paramedics arrived soon after and took over CPR. Inspector Whitfield said the girl did not regain full consciousness until she was in the ambulance, and she was then taken by road to Sydney Children's Hospital where she remains in a stable condition in intensive care.
Her cousin is also in a stable condition. Inspector Whitfield said the girl's parents were en route to the hospital to be with their daughter.
Another child, a three-year-old, was also with the family group, but was not involved in the emergency. The family is not believed to be local.
Teenager Tamas Herezey, 13, was having a picnic with his family when he saw ambulances and a helicopter descend on the family friendly park in chaotic scenes.
"There was a lot of people around the ambulances, people were asking what happened."
Witnesses said they saw emergency workers plucking the children out of the water after they had gone "blue".
"I heard there was fire, ambulance and police and they pulled out a kid who was blue," one woman said.
Six police cars, three ambulance units and the CareFlight rescue helicopter attended Bilarong Reserve, a popular weekend spot for families from all over Sydney.
Inspector Whitfield said the CareFlight doctor accompanied the girl to Sydney Children's Hospital by road.
He said investigations were still continuing into what happened, but it is believed the children were not dressed for swimming and were just paddling at the water's edge. The high winds and choppy water are also believed to have played a part.
He said the incident was a reminder for parents and carers to be vigilant when around water with children.