A man tragically drowned at Suffolk Park beach, just south of Byron Bay. / Picture by Scott Fletcher
A man tragically drowned at Suffolk Park beach, just south of Byron Bay. / Picture by Scott Fletcher

Surfers' heroic attempt to rescue man at 'notorious' beach

Surf lifesavers are urging beachgoers to be cautious following the tragic death of a 59-year-old man at the "notorious" Suffolk Park Beach on Saturday.

The Queensland man was pulled from the waters south of Byron Bay at about 12.30pm on April 10 by nearby surfers, who commenced CPR but was unfortunately declared dead on scene.

NSW police media confirmed on Monday morning the man was from Hillcrest, Logan but is yet to be formally identified.

The fatality comes just days before the end of the Northern Rivers patrol season, which officially finishes April 25.

Surf Life Saving Far North Coast duty officer Chris Samuels said it was a "tragic" event to unfold on our beaches.

"Our thoughts go out to the family and friends and those involved in the rescue," he said.

"Surfers did everything they could and it is a great effort to see the public go to someone's aid like that."

Mr Samuels said the isolation of the beach made it a well-known patch for dangerous surf incidents.

"It is a notorious stretch of beach and is unpatrolled at the moment," he said.

"Access isn't great for emergency services and it can be quite turbulent."

The 59-year-old's death followed an unrelated drowning fatality at Bittangabee Bay on Saturday and a recent spike in NSW drowning cases.

Mr Samuels noted each case was different and said there was "no blanket solution" to curb the tragic increase.

"It is a risky environment, entering the ocean, and conditions can change quite quickly," he said.

"The best prevention is to always swim with someone, avoid dawn and dusk periods and always swim between the flags."
He also encouraged those heading to the beach to use beachsafe.org.au to check out patrolled areas and conditions.

In 2020, 248 people drowned in Australian waterways.

Originally published as Heroic surfers rescued, performed CPR on Byron drowning victim