Lethal spot claims one, two missing

UPDATE: Search resumes for two men

The search for two missing Hunter men has resumed at Flat Rock this morning.

Walkers are combing beaches under pristine conditions while jet skis and helicopters patrol the waves.

Lethal spot claims one, two missing

A HUNTER mother has made an emotional plea after a tragic rock-fishing accident that claimed at least one life.

Gateshead’s Trey Adamson, 18, and Windale man Ben Winn, 20, remain missing after tragedy struck during a fishing trip to Flat Rock, a notoriously dangerous Central Coast rock-fishing spot.

The body of Mr Adamson’s Edgeworth girlfriend, Niranda Blair, 18, was found washed up on Ghosties beach, in the Lake Munmorah State Conservation Area, near Moonee, about 9.30am yesterday.

Trey’s mother, Tracey Adamson, will be among family members resuming the heart-breaking search for the missing pair this morning.

She has made an emotional plea for anyone with information to contact authorities.

‘‘If anybody has seen them or heard anything, I just want them to come forward and say what they saw,’’ Ms Adamson said.

Ms Adamson said her son had known Mr Winn about 15 years, and had been seeing Ms Blair for more than two years.

‘‘They all love [fishing], they absolutely adore it,’’ Ms Adamson said last night. ‘‘It’s all they did after school, before school, every weekend.’’

Ms Adamson said she had last seen her son, who turned 18 this month, on Friday night, but believed they had headed out Saturday morning.

She said she had no doubt the practised trio would have taken every precaution.

‘‘They were really sensible, I don’t understand what’s happened,’’ she said.

‘‘I think they’ve fished there a couple of times, but it’s not their normal spot. There’s no way they would do that in the dark.’’

The tragedy has sparked renewed calls to make lifesaving devices compulsory for rock fishermen, and comes after six other deaths in two years along the same tiny stretch of coast.

Tuggerah Lakes Police Inspector Rashelle Conroy said a member of the public raised the alarm about 6.30am yesterday after finding fishing equipment and other personal items abandoned on a rock shelf at Moonee Beach.

Police attended the scene and began inquiries.

Ms Blair’s body was found washed up on nearby Ghosties beach about 9.30am.

It is believed that the three friends set out on Friday for a fishing and surfing trip, but it is unclear when tragedy struck.

The trio had been fishing from Flat Rock, close to a spot on the same rock where five people, who had been fishing, drowned in 2010.

Police said Ms Blair was dressed in black shorts when her body was found. She was not wearing a life jacket.

A land, air and sea search for the men continued until 4pm yesterday and will resume early this morning.

Inspector Conroy said it was a difficult-to-access and dangerous location, where a number of other deaths had occurred.

About 15 bushwalkers were touring a trail near the beach yesterday.

A visibly shaken Narges Ghorbanvand, of Sydney, said the group came across the search efforts, and sighted what could have been someone in a black dress floating in the water.

The latest tragedy has sparked renewed calls for rock-fishing safety measures.

A Newcastle coroner recommended in August that the Department of Primary Industries consider making lifesaving devices compulsory for rock fishermen.

Deputy State Coroner Mark Buscombe made the directive when delivering his findings into the deaths of 12 people near Catherine Hill Bay, Sydney and Wollongong in 2009 and 2010.

Inspector Conroy said yesterday that wearing a lifejacket was a good idea.

Surf lifesaving personnel, many of them volunteers, assisted emergency services in yesterday’s search.

Surf Life Saving Central Coast president Stuart Harvey said Flat Rock was a treacherous fishing area.

The state government should set down a law requiring every rock fisherman to wear a personal flotation device, he said. Mr Harvey encouraged individuals to adopt the practice.

‘‘Our message is to every fisherman, and every rock fisherman, is to wear the PFD [personal flotation device],’’ he said.

‘‘It’s $80 to save your life.’’

A spokesman for Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said last night that the state government was reviewing a report that was commissioned to consider best practice on rock fishing safety.

‘‘In the meantime DPI [Department of Primary Industries] is already running educational safety programmes about rock fishing safety,’’ he said.

As the search for the two men resumes today, inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death are continuing.

Her body was taken yesterday to Newcastle morgue for post mortem examination.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

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