You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ocean search fails to find NSW teen

AAP logoAAP 27/12/2016 By Rebekah Ison

A 14-year-old boy feared drowned is still missing 24 hours after he got into trouble at a Sydney beach.

The family of Tui Gallaher, 14, endured an agonising wait on Wednesday, as searchers combed waters off Maroubra beach for the teen, who vanished around 8.30pm on Tuesday.

His mother collapsed in the sand as she watched the search on Wednesday, Fairfax Media reported.

"Love you my handsome nephew. Come back to mum," the teen's aunt posted on Facebook.

Tui, from Sydney's southwest, was on a family beach trip when he got into trouble.

"He was with a cousin who was pulled from the surf by a man who was just a passerby," Inspector Chris Whalley told reporters.

"That young man returned to the scene to try and find the now-missing young man and was unable to do so."

Police and surf lifesavers resumed searching the beach's southern end early on Wednesday, aided by boats, jetskis and a rescue helicopter.

They dealt with a one-metre swell and rip currents before concluding for the day at sunset.

Green dye had been dropped into the ocean by a Westpac helicopter while conducting its second search of the day on Wednesday afternoon.

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter chief executive Stephen Leahy said the teen's chances of survival after so long depended on numerous factors.

"We're still considering it a search and rescue mission," he said.

The man who rescued Tui's cousin has been praised for his efforts.

"To take the initiative and to enter the surf to try and rescue someone is a fantastic thing to do," he said.

The teenager went missing on the same day police warned holiday makers to take care in the water after seven people drowned over the Christmas break in NSW.

Surf Life Saving Sydney duty officer Matt Evans said people should swim at patrolled locations.

"If you're unsure of the conditions, seek assistance from the lifeguards or lifesaving services on patrol."

The search for Tui is expected to resume on Thursday morning.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon