A body discovered submerged in the water by a family holding a vigil has been identified as their 20-year-old relative who disappeared days earlier at the same spot.
Family and friends of the missing man spotted the body about 9.30am Saturday at the base of the Coffs Harbour break wall amongst the rocks, police said.
The man was believed to have been swept into the water while walking along the break wall where he had been fishing Wednesday evening.
“Emergency services went down to that location and we have located what we believe to be the missing male,” Chief Inspector Joanne Reid said on Saturday.
“He was submerged in the water and at present, attempts are being made to extricate him from the break wall.”
The wind, swell and tides had significantly negatively impacted rescue efforts, with air, land and sea crews deployed to search for the man.
“The weather in general was fairly atrocious which has hampered our efforts and our search efforts over the last few days. Thankfully today those conditions have eased and we've had an outcome,” Ms Reid said.
Search crews’ access to the areas earmarked as points of interest was prevented due to poor weather conditions as well.
The tragedy sparked a stern warning for the public to comply with signs and keep out of prohibited areas.
“We just implore people to heed warning sites and where there are gates - if there are signs to say don't go somewhere, there is a reason,” Ms Reid said.
“It is devastating. This community has been traumatised by this horrific incident and we just ask, implore people to heed the warning signs and to stay safe so that we don't have outcomes like this today for family and friends of loved ones.”
In a separate case, three men have died after being swept from rocks while fishing in Port Kembla.
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