Emergency crews are racing to find a man who may have been swept out to sea by a rogue wave on the NSW north coast.
The man, believed to be in his 20s, was walking along a breakwall at Jordan Esplanade in Coffs Harbour sbout 6pm on Thursday when the massive wave hit.
He vanished, according to a 24-year-old woman who was walking in front of the man.
A major search is now underway with crews from Marine Area Command, Marine Rescue, NSW Ambulance and local lifeguards joining the efforts.
A Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter has also been called in.
The man is described as being aged in his 20s, of muscular build, average height and with dark hair.
Police said he may have been wearing a red shirt, with grey or beige shorts and red shoes.
Shortly after the search began on Thursday, a local family approached police, worried their 20-year-old son had not come home from his evening walk.
The man’s car was found in the Gallows Beach car park.
Anyone with information is urged to come forward.
The news comes as the state grieves the deaths of 13 people who have already drowned in its waterways this summer.
This includes the tragic death of a teenager who drowned while swimming in a waterhole at Kentlyn earlier in the week.
Earlier in the month, NSW Police officer Kelly Foster died trying to save a 24-year-old international student, who also died, after being sucked into a whirlpool at Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains.
Authorities are now urging people to take extra care during the long weekend, amid fears that toll could grow.
Surf Lifesaving NSW director Joel Wiseman said even strong swimmers are urged to “exercise extreme caution”.
“Beaches can change quickly during large swell events, including the location of rips, so we’re asking everyone, even strong swimmers, to exercise extreme caution this weekend,” he said.
“Too often we see tragic incidents where a person has drowned while trying to rescue someone else.
“You might be a good swimmer yourself, however trying to save someone else, often without any rescue equipment or training is extremely difficult and dangerous.”
There’s a weather warning in pace for hazardous surf across the Byron, Coffs, Macquarie, Hunter and Sydney coastlines.
“People should consider staying out of the water and avoid walking near surf-exposed areas,” Marine Area Command said in a statement.
Temperatures are expected to soar in NSW over the long weekend, including in the capital where temperatures will exceed a top of 30C until Wednesday.
Since July last year, 20 people have drowned along the NSW coastline.