Updated | Cronulla lifesaver tells of drowning tragedy in Wattamolla lagoon

Despite warning signs visitors to Wattamolla continue to risk injury by jumping off the cliffs into the lagoon. Picture: Chris Lane
Despite warning signs visitors to Wattamolla continue to risk injury by jumping off the cliffs into the lagoon. Picture: Chris Lane

Update

The wife of a Cronulla lifesaver, who gave first aid to a one of the men in the Wattamolla drowning tragedy, had to drive to a spot where she could get mobile phone reception in order to call for help.

A man, 20, believed to be a Bangladeshi national, drowned after he and two friends jumped from rocks into the lagoon shortly before 7pm on Thursday.

The other two men, aged 21 and 19 were taken to St George Hospital in a stable condition.

George Ordenes, who said he had been a lifesaver at Cronulla for about three years, said the three men did not have any other friends with them.

Cronulla lifesaver George Ordene. Picture: supplied

Cronulla lifesaver George Ordene. Picture: supplied

Mr Ordenes said he was at the lagoon with his family and was about to leave when he saw a man lying with half his body on a pontoon and the other half in the water.

Mr Ordenes went to his aim despite some other people telling him they thought the man was drunk.

“He wasn't drunk ... I realised he was drowning, because he started vomiting water and fluid,” he said.

“A man who said he was a ‘firie’ from Bundeena joined the rescue.

“I was advised there was another man vomiting in a car in the car park.”

Rock jumping at Wattamolla before warning signs were erected.  Picture: Tamara Dean

Rock jumping at Wattamolla before warning signs were erected. Picture: Tamara Dean

Mr Ordenes said it was “very frustrating” not being able to get mobile phone reception to call for help.

“I asked my wife to drive and find signal so she could call OOO,” he said.

Mr Ordenes said the man he was assisting told him his two friends were missing and one was still in the water.

“I couldn’t leave him and start searching as he kept on vomiting and his pulse was extremely high,” he said.

Mr Ordenes said the emergency response was swift.

“Within 15 -20 minutes from when the call got through, we had helicopters ambulance and police,” he said.

Mr Ordenes said they found the man's body in about three metres of water after a 15-minute search.

“We brought him to the pontoon, but it was too late to help him,” he said.

Mr Ordenes said, despite warning signs, people were still risking their lives by jumping from the rocks.

“It would be good to have flotation devices similar to those at rock fishing spots, so people that are in distress can be easily helped,” he said.

Earlier

Wattamolla lagoon. Picture: Chris Lane

Wattamolla lagoon. Picture: Chris Lane

A man, 20, has died after jumping from rocks into the lagoon at Wattamolla in Royal National Park.

Shortly before 7pm on Thursday, emergency services were called to Wattamolla after reports three men had got into difficulties while jumping from rocks into the lagoon.

“Upon the arrival of officers from Sutherland Police Area Command, two men had been rescued from the water by friends and were being treated by ambulance paramedics,”a police spokesman said.

Both men, aged 21 and 19 were taken to St George Hospital in a stable condition, where they remain under observation.

“The body of a third man was located a short time later by the police helicopter POLAIR, who were able to direct a paramedic to the area.

“The 20-year-old man’s body was recovered a short time later by paramedics.”

Police reminded people to be extremely careful when swimming in areas that were not patrolled by lifeguards or lifesavers.

Inspector Christopher Hill said visitors to Wattamolla needed to obey warning signs erected by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

“This tragic death is another reminder of how the enjoyment of swimming at these spectacular locations can quickly become deadly,” he said.

Police will prepare a report for the Coroner.