Three dead after being swept off rocks by enormous wave
Only one of three fishermen who drowned after being swept off a rock platform south of Sydney on Friday night was wearing a lifejacket.
Emergency services rushed to the popular rock fishing spot at Hill 60 in Port Kembla about 10pm on Friday after reports large waves had swept multiple people into the water.
Five men were swept off the rocks but two managed to clamber back to safety.
Three men, 45-year-old Tiuli Misipati and 49-year-old Tauasa Taugaele from Green Valley in Sydney's south west and 69-year-old Joo Sung Jung from Campsie, drowned.
Lake Illawarra Police Acting Commander Gordon Dunlop said the men in their 40s were related but did not know the 69-year-old.
"It is a large outcrop of rock platform and unfortunately every now and then we do have incidents where large waves encroach upon the platform and wash across," he said this morning.
"The swell was there and the waves were coming across but every now and again a larger wave would hit the platform.
"I believe five men went into the water.
"Two made it to land safely and unfortunately the three gentlemen were located deceased."
Mr Dunlop said only the 69-year-old man was wearing a life jacket.
Relatives at the scene identified Mr Misipati and Mr Taugaele while police identified Mr Jung through his car parked nearby and notified his wife.
Two NSW Ambulance helicopters were on scene last night and winched two of the dead fishermen from the water.
"It was very chaotic and the police did a great job," NSW Ambulance Inspector Norm Rees said.
"If you can imagine when we pulled up, there was something like 10 or 11 cars. The police identified all the fishermen on the rocks, got them to come back to the cars, went through their checklist and moved them out of the area.
"So we were only dealing with the patients and their families.
"They were very distressed as you would appreciate."
Emergency crews have been at the scene all night and an air and sea search has resumed at first light this morning.
"The search is to ensure there are no other missing people as eyewitnesses were unsure how many people were standing on the rocks when they were hit by the wave," a police spokeswoman said.
"The local police seem reasonably confident everyone has been accounted for - and there's no reports of missing people as yet - however, as a precaution they will continue sweeps of the coastline," a police spokeswoman said.
She confirmed three bodies were recovered overnight and post mortem examinations would be conducted.
Officers attached to Lake Illawarra Police District, the Marine Area Command, NSW Ambulance, rescue helicopters and local lifeguards worked involved in the operation.
Superintendent Gordon Dunlop will address the media this morning.
Police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact Lake Illawarra police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Originally published as Three dead after being swept off rocks at Port Kembla