A woman who was trapped under a rock ledge for almost three hours in treacherous sea conditions was successfully rescued after the boat she was in with another occupant, flipped and capsized at Pilot Beach on July 1.
Emergency services personnel said the pair were lucky to walk away with their lives and attributed the successful rescue in part to the fact they were both wearing lifejackets.
The 34-year-old woman and 42-year-old man from Kew were taken to Port Macquarie Base Hospital with suspected fractures and lacerations after a large-scale rescue operation to save them.
Crews were called to Pilot Beach, south of Laurieton after reports the vessel had capsized with two occupants on board at about 7.20am Monday.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service was called at 8.30am after big swell prevented surf crews from safely accessing the pair.
The man and woman were located on rocks at the southern break wall.
The man was quickly retrieved from the water and transported to Port Macquarie Base Hospital by ambulance.
Chief Inspector for Mid North Coast Police District, Peter Neville, said the pair were attempting to cross the bar on the Camden Haven River at Pilot Beach when they were swamped by a large wave and swept overboard.
"The man was extricated from the rocks with the assistance Fire and Rescue NSW, SES, ambulance and NSW Police," Ch Insp Neville said.
"The woman was caught under a ledge on rocks and her rescue took some time before she was rescued with the assistance of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
"They were very lucky. What was fortunate was both persons were wearing lifejackets when they attempted to cross the bar. I have spoken to the female occupant and she said without lifejackets, their lives would have been in grave danger."
Ch Insp Neville said while seas were rough, the skipper had stopped the vessel prior to crossing the bar to assess conditions. While they were sitting there, a large wave swamped vessel.
The rescue operation involved NSW Police, ambulance, several units from Fire and Rescue NSW, the State Emergency Service and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter from Newcastle.
"It was another good example of emergency services working together in a co-operative manner to achieve an excellent outcome," Ch Insp Neville said.
"The training all emergency services, both individually and jointly undertake, has paid off. At no time were any rescue operators in danger."