EMERGENCY services crews led by NSW Police will resume the search for an 11-year-old boy, feared drowned, at Lighthouse Beach.
An emergency services alert was issued just after 1.30pm with Marine Rescue Port Macquarie, lifeguards, emergency services crews and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter responding. Bystanders on the beach assisted the family, who are believed to be visiting the area from the ACT, until help arrived.
NSW Police Media said the boy was pulled out in a rip while swimming in shallow water with his family. He has not been seen since.
A second child, his brother aged 17, was also caught in the rip but managed to get himself to shore independently.
The young boy was waist-deep in the water when he was dragged out and his older brother tried to rescue him, NSW Police Inspector Peter Neville said.
"The elder boy tried to assist the 11-year-old but was unable to pull him from the surf," Inspector Neville said.
The brother was treated for exhaustion by ambulance paramedics.
NSW Ambulance Acting Superintendent David Horseman said the family is being supported as the search continues.
“The NSW Ambulance and Westpac Helicopter plus Marine Rescue are doing their very best to locate the missing child,” he said.
Surf Life Saving NSW issued a statement saying conditions along the coast have been incredibly challenging.
“This is an extremely difficult operation and our thoughts are with everyone involved,” said SLSNSW CEO Steven Pearce.
“We will continue to support the police and other agencies with whatever surf lifesaving assets are required.
“In the meantime we urge people to take care along the coast. We are imploring people to swim only at patrolled locations, in between the red and yellow flags this summer,” he said.