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Boy, 7, dies in NSW swimming tragedy; COVID warnings in place as people flock to beaches

NSW Ambulance duty operations manager Peter van Praag said paramedics worked tirelessly to treat the child before he was taken to hospital but he didn’t survive.

NSW Ambulance paramedics at the scene of the tragedy on Sunday.

NSW Ambulance paramedics at the scene of the tragedy on Sunday. Credit:Nine News

“These sorts of jobs have a significant impact on all the emergency services involved, but none more so than the family, and our hearts go out them,” Inspector van Praag said.

“It is just so sad.”

He said it was a tragic reminder for people to take care near the water as the weather warmed.

“Nobody intends for these tragedies to happen, but that’s the thing about accidents – they happen in second – but the impact can remain for a lifetime,” he said.

COVID warnings as people hit the beaches

The emergency comes as people flocked to the state’s beaches and watering holes to enjoy the weekend’s fine conditions. NSW Health called upon the community to maintain vigilance and avoid crowds despite a run of eight days without COVID-19 transmission.

Coogee Beach in the eastern suburbs saw a sea of sunbathers, with others submerging themselves in the rock pool to cool off, as continued physical distancing, hand hygiene and testing is still encouraged.

Swimmers cooling off in the Coogee Beach rock pool during a spell of fine weather in Sydney.

Swimmers cooling off in the Coogee Beach rock pool during a spell of fine weather in Sydney.Credit:James Alcock

“Though there have been no locally acquired cases in NSW in recent days, now is not the time to drop our guard,” a NSW Health spokesperson said.

While the majority of the state experienced sunny weather and clear skies on Sunday, the high temperatures are expected to escalate on Monday, climbing up to 34 degrees in Sydney, 34.5 in Mascot, 39 in Parramatta and 41.5 in Penrith, the highest expected reading this season.

Weather bureau meteorologist Bimal KC said the hot, dry conditions were moving in ahead of a southerly cold front bringing “fresh and gusty winds”.

“We’re expecting shower and thunderstorm activity with the front,” Mr KC said, adding the forecast rainfall was expected to be just a few millimetres.

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He said the change would bring minimum overnight temperatures to about 18 degrees in the Sydney basin ahead of milder temperatures and showers along the eastern part of the state, with the mercury staying in the low 20s during the middle of the week before climbing to 31 in Sydney on Friday.

Damaging winds were forecast for the state’s alpine region on Sunday night, with wind speeds reaching up to 120 km/h above 900 metres.

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