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Chinese nationals lost in another Australian fishing tragedy

SYDNEY, April 27 (Xinhua)-- In a further rock-fishing tragedy that has blighted the recreational fishing on Australia's unpredictable eastern coast, police recovered Saturday the body of a Chinese national lost off rocks at Wybung Head who tried to save a friend lost moments earlier on the NSW Central Coast. Police resumed Sunday the search for another man who is assumed lost in the same circumstances.

About 6.30 p.m. Friday, a group of two women and four men from Sydney were fishing off rocks, when one of the women was swept into the water by a wave.

The young rock fisherman appears to have drowned in the vain attempt to save his girl friend. The young man is among 10 risk- taking fisherman who have died in the past two years in the same treacherous waters of the NSW Central Coast.

A police spokesman told Xinhua that the search continues for a Chinese student, 20, who also leapt into the water in the attempt to save the young woman who was swept off the rocks in the southern coast of Lake Macquarie by what locals call "freak waves", though underlying the regularity of such events -- where a far larger wave will seep across the rocks, far above the tidal line.

When the two men from the group made the fateful decision to leap into extremely dangerous white breakers -- waves that smash into the rocky headlands -- they struggled momentarily before the woman was miraculously swept back to safety by another wave.

Witnesses described the scene when the two men disappeared under the waves. When visual sight had been lost, authorities were contacted and a search commenced.

Local police were called in and were assisted in their rescue effort by officers from the Marine Area Command, NSW Ambulance SCAT, Surf Lifesaving, Volunteer Rescuers and the Westpac helicopter.

Shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday, the body of a man was located off Wybung Head.

The latest death involving foreign fishermen in the state of New South Wales highlights the extreme dangers involved in the popular recreational pastime and the lack of warnings or education for visitors, particularly Chinese nationals unfamiliar with the treacherous conditions.

On Saturday morning, the woman who originally fell off the rocks watched in horror as the body of her partner Huiqing Hua, 25, was pulled from the water.

Police said the body has been taken for a post mortem and formal identification.

Meantime, the search for the other man will continue throughout Sunday.

Twenty people have now been lost in rock fishing in NSW from 2011 to 2013, according to the NSW government.

Police released a statement confirming the group comprised of Chinese nationals living in Sydney, who had taken advantage of the Australian ANZAC day long-weekend and made the journey north for a day of sight seeing and fishing.

Local police confirmed to Xinhua that none of the group had informed friends of family of their intentions and had failed to take the appropriate safety items, including lifejackets, appropriate rock fishing footwear or safety gear.

Tracy Innes, president of Batemans Bay Surf Life Saving, said that when the "fight or flight" instinct kicks in, it is very difficult to stop people from entering the water in such a situation. But its akin to signing your own death warrant.

The area is notorious for dangerous fishing conditions, yet questions remain over why there are no multi-lingual warning signs after the rocks claimed the lives of five recreational fishermen from Hong Kong four years earlier. "It is a tragedy that happens all too often. So many visitors to not understand or are not familiar with conditions here in Australia. Rips and currents are extremely powerful, more so than anywhere else and anyone ripped into the water cannot be rescued by another swimmer. And one that could be avoided with further education,"Innes said.

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