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A western Sydney man has died while attempting to rescue his son after three children were pulled out to sea by a rip on a beach south of Sydney late yesterday.
Emergency crews were called to Woonona Beach off Kulburra Road at about 5.40pm to help rescue eight people caught in a rip at Woonona Beach in Wollongong's north.
The children had been playing with family and friends when they were swept off rocks by a large wave.
The six adults who were a part of their group all rushed into the ocean in a bid to save them.
Beach patrols had finished for the day, so Surf Life SavingNSWput out a call to lifeguards from the nearby Bulli Beach.
They raced to the scene in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and a jetski from nearby Thirroul Beach, in addition to two ambulance rescue helicopters.
The children were all pulled to safety but by the time they reached the man aged in his 40s, he was unconscious.
Paramedics performed CPR on the man on the beach for 40 minutes, but he could not be saved.
Three others from the group were transported to hospital by ambulance for treatment.
Surf Life Saving NSW State Duty Officer Peter Evert was at the beach as the rescue unfolded and described the scene as "the most tragic of circumstances".
"The conditions today were calm on the beach," he said.
"Unfortunately,three children from the man'sfamilyfell off the rocks andgot caught in a rip in an unpatrolled area of the beach... Despite a fast response to the incident from Council Lifeguards,the day ended in tragedy.
"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man who drowned."