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Heatwave brings busy day for lifesavers

Sydneysiders will have to wait until around midnight for a cool change to bring respite from the heatwave that has gripped the city for the past few days.

Sydney’s airport recorded a top of 41.6C, and was 15 degrees hotter than its past average, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). Observatory Hill reached 37.1C.

Lifesavers pulled off 194 rescues and responded to 53 emergency incidents on a day Surf Life Saving NSW had warned would be one of the most challenging days of the year.

The hot weather, big swells and the Australia Day public holiday drew large crowds to Sydney’s beaches, including Bondi.

“This provides almost a perfect cocktail for dangerous conditions where drownings are likely to occur,” Surf Life Saving NSW spokesman Matt Spooner told reporters on Tuesday.

Seven people have drowned in NSW in the past eight days.

A 16-year-old boy died on Tuesday after being pulled unresponsive from the Hawkesbury River at Sackville on Monday afternoon.

On Monday a snorkeller died after being pulled from the water at Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches, while emergency services will resume their search for another man who disappeared while snorkelling near Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast on Wednesday.

A teenager is in hospital after he was pulled from the water unconscious at Athol Beach in Sydney’s north. He regained consciousness after bystanders performed CPR, NSW Ambulance says.

Mr Spooner earlier said that lifesavers were bracing for “one of the most challenging days that we’ve had in the last five years”.

Every available jetski, rubber duck, and drone would be utilised and the Westpac rescue helicopter would be patrolling the sky.

Sydney will experience dramatically different weather conditions on Wednesday, with a maximum of 26C, cloud cover and patchy showers.

The state’s west is already enjoying cooler weather.

There is a risk of thunderstorms inland at times over coming days.

Drownings are 2.4 times more likely to occur in Australia on public holidays.

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