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Salmon Beach: Massive search launched near Esperance for person swept off rocks

A massive search launched near Esperance for a person swept off rocks this afternoon will recommence in the morning.

A marine search and rescue operation was conducted by Esperance Police at Salmon Beach, in West Beach, about 2.40pm after reports a member of the public had been washed off the rocks.

The search involved various assets including Esperance police, DFES marine rescue, a search helicopter and the Esperance surf lifesaving unit.

At this time it is believed a man is unaccounted for in the ocean.

The search was suspended just before 7pm, with authorities set to pick it back up in the morning. West Beach will also be closed overnight.

An extensive search operation is under way for a man swept into the ocean while rock fishing in Esperance this afternoon.
Camera IconAn extensive search operation is under way for a man swept into the ocean while rock fishing in Esperance this afternoon. Credit: ABC/ABC

There have been six rock fishing related deaths in the Esperance region since 2012, according to the Royal Life Saving Society of WA.

In September a man in his 60s drowned after being washed into the water at Wylie Beach.

Police launched an extensive 10-day search operation in July last year, but were unsuccessful in finding 25-year-old Thomas Rae at Warrenup Beach.

2012 was a horror year for the small coastal community, with three people including a Belgian national drowning in the region.

Today’s search comes less than two months after 52-year-old surfer Andrew Sharpe was killed by a shark off the Esperance coast.

Police suspended a three-day search for the father who was taken by shark while surfing with friends at Kelp Beds on October 9.

“Andrew was a very loving father, life partner and brother,” Mr Sharpe’s family said in a statement at the time.

“He would do anything for anyone and was a great and loyal mate to his friends and people he met.”

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