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Sydney Man Drowns As Dinghy Capsizes


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Sydney man drowns as dinghy capsizes

July 20, 2009 - 11:30AM

A Sydney man who drowned after the small boat he was on with family members capsized near Newcastle appears to have not been wearing a life jacket, police say.

The rented dinghy tipped over as its occupants tried to disembark at a jetty - near Myall Shores, Bombah Point - about 11.30am yesterday.

All five family members on board fell into the water, police said.

"It looks like everyone tried to get off once ... it's [an] unusual [incident]," said water police crime manager Glenn Finnis.

"There were some witnesses to it, and I believe a few people have gone into the water to assist."

While the passers-by managed to rescue four members of the family, the 42-year-old Homebush man "disappeared below the surface", police said.

After a search involving water police and the Westpac rescue helicopter, police divers found the man's body near the jetty about 4pm in what water police described as "black water" of poor visibility.

Some of the family had been wearing life jackets at the time of the incident, although this apparently did not include the deceased man, Inspector Finnis said.

It was not yet if the 42-year-old could swim, or if he had suffered an injury as he fell, he said.

The four surviving family members included a 48-year-old man, a 38-year-old woman, and two children aged six and eight.

They were flown to John Hunter Hospital and treated for exposure and hypothermia, police said.

The family had been holidaying in the area for about a week, Inspector Finnis said.

It was likely they had only gone out on the water earlier in the morning that the incident occurred, he said.

It was not known if the family had stayed at the nearby Myall Shores Resort. The resort declined to comment yesterday.

However conditions were calm yesterday and it was believed the dinghy simply capsized as the passengers disembarked.

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