Giant Wave Impact in Australia on January 04 2017 08:15 AM (UTC).
At least four people have been taken to hospital after a "freak wave" swept a large group of people off rocks at Crescent Head, on the NSW Mid North Coast. Emergency services were called to Goolawah Beach at 12.30pm on Wednesday, after a group of swimmers were hit by the large wave, leaving 14 with various injuries. One man, believed to have a broken collar bone, was stuck at the bottom of a cliff before being rescued by paramedics. Large grazes were visible on his back, before he was loaded into an ambulance just before 2.40pm. Sophie Shepherd, from Sydney, said she was swimming when one large wave washed in, which caused no injuries. A second wave battered the group, sending some into the water and others back into the rocks. "It smashed everyone," she said. "Some people stayed in the water. I went towards the cliff. "We ran up to get service on my phone, thank God it didn't get wet, and we came up and called the ambulance." A NSW Ambulance spokesman said paramedics assessed a total of 14 patients, who chiefly suffered cuts and abrasions. Three patients were taken to Kempsey Hospital by ambulance, while one was taken to Port Macquarie Base Hospital. Others are thought to have been taken to Kempsey Hospital in a NSW Ambulance bus. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived at the beach about 2pm, but was not used. Air Crewman Jamie Yeo from the helicopter service said the wave that hit the swimmers at Big Nobby was a "freak wave". "The majority were able to get themselves safely back to the shore and the others were assisted by emergency services personnel," Mr Yeo said. It is understood two of those injured were adults, while the rest were children. The incident comes amid a deadly summer of drownings for NSW, with people dying in waterways and swimming pools. Michael Ilinsky from Royal Life Saving NSW said the number of drowning deaths recorded in NSW since December 18 was "unprecedented". Following the latest death, where a fisherman's body was found just after 8am on Wednesday, police have urged people to be careful in the water. "If you are out on the beach, make sure that you are between the flags and don't swim in dangerous conditions," Chief Inspector Steven Johnson from Shoalhaven police said. "If you are on a boat ... under 4.2 metres, make sure you are wearing a lifejacket, or any other time in which the law prescribes," he said. "We don't want to be in the situation again where we have to go around and tell a member of a family that, tragically, a loved one has lost their life while being on the water."