A hero father has drowned while trying to save his son and niece after they were swept out to sea off rocks at a popular beach south of Sydney.
Steven Mote, 41, ran into the ocean after a wave knocked the children off a rock and into a horror rip at Woonona Beach near Wollongong on Saturday.
The father-of-four and his five family members who rushed to rescue the children were all swept out to sea.
Emergency crews arrived at the popular beach about 5.40pm to bring the six adults and three children to shore.
Steven Mote (pictured), 41, drowned trying to save his son and niece at Woonona Beach near Wollongong on Saturday
Mr Mote was pulled unconscious from the water and despite the best efforts of paramedics, he died at the scene.
Devastated family and friends flocked online to pay tribute to the hero father who was remembered as a ‘angel’ and ‘gentleman’.
‘Another Angel entered the golden gates of heaven. We are going to miss you so much, leaving a big empty space,’ Margaret Weti wrote on Facebook.
David Ralph said he was and will always be ‘the greatest and a gentleman’.
‘Going to miss that big a** smile and that laugh. Every moment with you was special’ he said.
‘RIP Steve Mote. Thank you for the wonderful memories,’ Kristy Prichard wrote.
The father-of-four rushed into the ocean along with five other adults but all were swept out to sea
Friends and family have remembered the hero father as an ‘angel’ who always looked out for others
A high school friend said Mr Mote was ‘always so kind’ and had looked out for her during their school years, while another loved one said he was always ‘a shoulder to lean on’ during tough times.
Bystanders used jet skis and surfboards to help the children back to shore, who were then taken to hospital in a stable condition.
Seven NSW Ambulance crews and two specialist medical teams in two lifesaver helicopters attended the scene.
Distraught loved ones broke down in tears and comforted each other on the sand after paramedics broke the tragic news that Mr Mote could not be saved.
The heartbreaking moment paramedics inform the man’s family that he has passed away. One man cried and was brought to his knees by the tragic news. The man was reportedly a father who was trying to save his son, who had been swept off rocks
The group of eight were believed to be from Claymore in Sydney’s west and were visiting the beach on what was a hot day in NSW, before tragedy struck.
Wollongong Police were told the children were playing in the shallows when they were swept out to sea.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Matt Sterling said it ‘is absolutely heartbreaking’ that the father died.
‘No words can describe the scene we were faced with today,’ Mr Sterling said.
‘The surfers and surf lifesavers that jumped in to save these patients are simply heroic. I can’t thank them enough.’
Chaotic scenes at Woonona Beach near Wollongong after three adults and three children were washed out to sea on Saturday evening
Source: Daily Mail AU