Two people have drowned at Phillip Island on Christmas Eve. File image: Eugene Hyland
Two people have drowned at Phillip Island on Christmas Eve. File image: Eugene Hyland

Mum watched husband and son drown

Two men have tragically drowned at a Phillip Island beach in Victoria on Christmas Eve, with a teenage boy also taken to hospital after the horror incident.

The trio - understood to be a father and his two sons as their mother watched on - was swimming near The Colonnades, off The Blvd on Phillip Island, around 5.30pm when emergency services were alerted to the distressed swimmers.

A 45-year-old man could not be revived at the scene. Picture: Channel Nine
A 45-year-old man could not be revived at the scene. Picture: Channel Nine

Paramedics performed CPR on a 45-year-old man who was pulled from the water, but he could not be revived.

Phillip Island’s wild beaches have claimed at least five lives since January 2016. File image: Mark Stewart
Phillip Island’s wild beaches have claimed at least five lives since January 2016. File image: Mark Stewart

The Air Wing and volunteer lifesavers from Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club also searched for a 20-year-old man, who was located but later died at the scene.

The third swimmer, a 12-year-old boy, was taken by ambulance to Monash Children's Hospital in a stable condition after swimming to safety.

Conditions around the area were treacherous today, with Woolamai Beach Surf Lifesaving Club on Monday morning warning people to avoid the beach due to dangerous conditions.

"The information we've received from the members down there is that the conditions were certainly challenging," Lifesaving Victoria state duty officer Kane Treloar said.

"We urge all beachgoers to check the conditions before going out to the water and to choose a location that matches their abilities."

The Colonnades are on the western end of the notorious Woolamai Surf Beach - Phillip Island's longest and most exposed beach.

According to Beachsafe, the 4.2km stretch of beach has strong rips close to the shore and is for experienced swimmers only.

Despite the safety advice, 55 people are rescued from Woolamai annually.

Mitcham man Paul Baker, 46, died at the treacherous stretch of water after being caught in a rip on New Year's Day this year, despite swimming between the flags.

Two people - a man and a woman aged in their 20s - were also killed after being swept away by a rip at Cape Woolamai outside lifesaving patrol hours in January 2016.

Seven people in total were pulled from the water by surfers and volunteer lifeguards that day.

And in January this year, an elderly woman from Doncaster drowned at Phillip Island's Red Rock Beach at Cowes while swimming with her family.

Life Saving Victoria this year recorded 23 drowning deaths last summer, with half of all drownings occurring at beaches.

Police will investigate the Christmas Eve tragedy and prepare a report for the coroner.



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