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Dad-of-6 tragically drowns in riptide, mom urges swimmers to avoid unsupervised beaches

The devastated mom of the father-of-six who drowned at a NSW, Australia beach trying to save his son, has urged families to not swim at unsupervised beaches.

Father-of-six and Central Coast local, Michael Sneddon was with his 10-year-old son, Cody, at Ettalong Beach, about 164 feet (50 meters) offshore, when the pair reportedly got stuck in a rip at about 2:30pm on Saturday morning.

Family members say Sneddon attempted to keep his son above water before beach goers rescued the father and son on two jet skis.

However, Mr. Sneddon was unable to be revived by Maritime Services and paramedics.

Sneddon’s mom, Lilian Sneddon-Camilleri said her son was a “caring father” and “loved his son and his girls.”

The shattered mom said she last spoke to Sneddon on Friday to wish him a happy New Years, and was still in shock after hearing the news.

“Michael was a hero to me. He was always helping people and he was a good kid at school,” she said.

In light of the tragic accident, Camilieri urged families to not swim at unsupervised beaches, like Ettalong Beach.

On Saturday, lifesavers from the nearby Ocean Beach and Umina Beach were deployed to Ettalong in order to assist with the rescue which had been initiated by bystanders.

“He was a good son, and I loved him. I just want other parents to learn from this. Don’t swim where there’s no supervision, and have safety things, like life jackets, on you,” she said.

“I don’t want other people to go through this.”

Sneddon’s youngest brother, Antonio Sneddon said he was beloved by his large family, including his five siblings.

He said his family had been told that Sneddon and Cody had been standing on a sand barge when it collapsed, plunging both of them into the water.

Sneddon’s youngest brother, Antonio Sneddon said he was beloved by his large family, including his five siblings.

“It seems that Cody went in first and then Michael went in to save him,” said Antonio.

“We’re gathering that Cody was holding onto his dad and telling him to ‘stay up,’ but by the time they got Cody, unfortunately Michael went under and the rips got him.”

A statement from the family thanked emergency services who rushed to the scene, and for the bystanders at the beach who saved Cody.

“He was a great brother, and for his Mum and Dad he was a great son. For his own children he was a great father,” it read.

“He is loved by his family and his business colleagues.

“The Sneddon family would like to say thank you to everyone who was first on the scene and thank you for saving Michael’s son.”

Antonio said the family would extend an invite to representatives from NSW Ambulance or LifeSaving NSW to attend his brother’s funeral, for their help on the day.

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