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Late-night swim leaves woman dead, man missing in huge Gold Coast surf


A woman has drowned and a man is missing in wild surf north of Kurrawa Beach on the Gold Coast where many beaches remain closed and a hazardous surf warning is in place.

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A search is underway by water police and the Rescue 500 Helicopter, with police also scouring the beach from Broadbeach north to The Spit for the man who went for a late night swim in the dangerous conditions about 9.20pm Thursday.

Gold Coast Police Acting Inspector John Diggle said the search early Friday was deemed a recovery mission. “We don’t expect to find anybody alive,” Diggle said.

Emergency services were called to Kurrawa Beach near Broadbeach around 10.15pm after a 29-year-old woman was discovered unconscious on the beach. The woman, who was wearing a swimsuit, was unable to be revived. She was believed to be from Victoria on holidays in Queensland.

The 30-year-old missing man is a British citizen living on the Gold Coast.

Diggle said the pair were seen in CCTV footage on Thursday evening outside the Kurrawa Surf Club before they went for a swim about 9:30pm.
Their clothes and car keys were found on the beach. The man’s car was found in a nearby car park.

Diggle said the surf conditions Thursday night were dangerous with a 1.8m swell. “Conditions for boating would have been appalling and conditions for swimming would have been very unsafe,” he said.

Locals from the surf club found the woman, sparking the search for the man.

Police and water police had searched the sea north of Kurrawa by helicopter with infrared cameras Thursday night and pushed out search resources and conducted flyovers at first light Friday.

The death of the Victorian woman comes just weeks after 21-year-old Victorian man, Mitchell Celantano, also drowned swimming on the Gold Coast.

Celantano, from East Keilor in Melbourne, drowned after an early morning swim in a Broadbeach canal while on holidays with a group of friends.

Police Friday echoed Surf Lifesaving Queensland’s message to people to swim at patrolled beaches between the flags following a spate of drowning and near-death incidents this summer.

On Australia Day, Surf Life Saving Queensland recorded 47,000 people at Gold Coast beaches.

Out of Queensland’s 76 rescues by lifesavers on 26 January, 61 happened on the Gold Coast. The figures include seven people who were pulled from the water in a mass rescue at Tallebudgera.

One man required CPR and was later rushed to Gold Coast University Hospital in a critical condition. The man has since recovered. Four others who were rescued were assessed by paramedics but declined to go to hospital.



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