Beachgoers celebrate Christmas at Bondi Beach. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Beachgoers celebrate Christmas at Bondi Beach. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Sand-emonium at packed beaches

DANGEROUS bull sharks have been spotted lurking at popular beaches, prompting evacuations and closures as millions of people pack the sand across the country.

With more than a million people expected to head to beaches in New South Wales alone today, lifesavers have their hands full as treacherous conditions also prompt closures.

It comes as Australians face unprecedented heat, with some unlucky parts of the country expected to endure a week of incredibly high temperatures.

Those willing to brave the scorching conditions have had to battle for a patch of sand, with some 30,000 beachgoers expected at popular Bondi Beach, following a bumper Christmas Day crowd.

Further south Bronte, Tamarama and Maroubra beaches were closed this morning because of strong swells.

In the state's north, shark sightings have been reported at Shelly Beach at Ballina, The Pass and Clarkes Beaches at Byron Bay - all leading to evacuations and beach closures throughout the day.

Surf Lifesaving NSW duty officer Jimmy Keough told the Northern Star all three sightings were reported by the Department of Primary Industries helicopter and drone.

Mr Keough urged swimmers to always follow all directions given by lifeguards and life savers on duty.

 

 

The dangerous conditions come amid several tragic drownings across the country.

A helpless friend watched as his 64-year-old diving partner drowned off the rocks at Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula on Christmas Day.

The man from St Albans was diving for abalone about 6.30pm when he got into trouble in choppy water.

That incident came after a mother watched her husband and son drown at treacherous Phillip Island beach.

Her other teenager son was also left in hospital after the horrific Christmas Eve tragedy.

The trio - understood to be a father and his two sons as their mother watched on - were swimming near The Colonnades, off The Blvd on Phillip Island, about 5.30pm when emergency services were alerted to the distressed swimmers.

In NSW witnesses tried to save Korean man who drowned while snorkelling on Christmas Day.

Emergency services were called to Lake Conjola Entrance Road at Lake Conjola, after reports a man had been pulled from the water about 2.40pm.

Police were told the man went missing while snorkelling and was pulled from the water following a search by family and bystanders.

 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews urged people to stay safe over the festive period after three people drowned in two days.

Mr Andrews called on those heading to the beach to enjoy the warm weather to "be smart", avoid taking risks and only swim in supervised areas.

"Don't have what should be such a special time for you and your family turn into a tragedy," he said.

"Be aware of the circumstances, don't drink and swim and if you are not confident in your swimming ability, then the only place you can swim is at a supervised beach."


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