Man Missing off Philip Island, Victoria, after Christmas Day Swim

A Queensland man is believed to have drowned at Cape Woolamai, on Phillip Island in Victoria’s south-east, after going for a Christmas swim with his family, police have said.

Sergeant Bruce Kent said the 29-year-old had come to the beach with family, and was swimming at 5:30pm when he got into difficulty.

“We don’t think he’s got very good swimming ability and we had a couple of locals on surfboards try to rescue this male, but the conditions were even too dangerous for them,” he said.

“I would not be swimming and I’m a local. We’ve got several rips down here … people go swimming where the water is nice and flat and calm, and unbeknownst to them they’re walking straight into the middle of the rip.”

Sergeant Kent said the man was from Queensland, but his family was from Lalor, in Melbourne’s north, and some were overseas.

“We’ve got several of the [man’s] family here and they’re trying to arrange for overseas visas so their family members can come to Australia. They are distraught,” Sergeant Kent said.

“And of course we have the local people who tried to rescue this gentleman and were not successful. You could imagine how they would be feeling today.”

Emergency crews resumed the search this morning and the beach has been closed.

“The surf life-saving club wasn’t open yesterday, so we didn’t have the flags displayed and I recommend to everybody, if you go to a surf beach and the surf lifesavers aren’t out there, don’t go for a swim, it’s just not worth it,” Sergeant Kent said.