Sydney drowning: Witness describe efforts to save Sydney dad-of-two who died retrieving son’s ball from lake

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A Sydney man who drowned while playing with his two children near a lake has been remembered as a devoted dad.

Fahim Wakili went into the lake at Swansona Avenue in Mount Annan on Monday evening to retrieve his son’s ball, which had been kicked into the water.

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But the 38-year-old – who couldn’t swim – did not resurface.

Several officers responding to the incident searched the water for Mr Wakili without success.

Witness Michael Levich attempted to help the father-of-two at the scene.

“All I saw was bubbles and I jumped in after him but it was too late,” Mr Levich told 7NEWS.

Fahim Wakili died on Monday. Credit: 7NEWS
Mr Wakili drowned at a lake in Mt Annan.
Mr Wakili drowned at a lake in Mt Annan. Credit: 7NEWS

“I couldn’t do anything.”

Police divers later located and recovered his body three hours later, as devastated family and friends gathered at the scene.

Neighbour Scott Sporne remembered Mr Wakili as a devoted father.

“You could see him here kicking balls with his kids in the park,” he told 7NEWS.

“After school, you’d see him pick up the kids and walk them home.

“He’s here that often. It’s hard to believe.”

Safety plea

Mr Wakili’s death is one of nine that have occurred in the state’s waterways in recent days, prompting police and surf lifesavers to plead with swimmers to take extra care.

Three people have died at the state’s beaches in as many days, with some 329 rescues performed, Surf Life Saving NSW’s George Shales said on Tuesday.

Nine people have died at the state’s beaches since December 1, and another 10 nationwide.

Mr Shales is pleading for swimmers not to add to those statistics, as ex-tropical cyclone Seth plays havoc with ocean conditions.

Mr Wakili drowned trying to retrieve his son’s ball.
Mr Wakili drowned trying to retrieve his son’s ball. Credit: 7NEWS
Devastated family and friends embraced each other at the scene.
Devastated family and friends embraced each other at the scene. Credit: 7NEWS

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned abnormally high tides, damaging winds and hazardous surf conditions are stretching from the NSW Central Coast all the way through to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, with waves up to 10m high.

“The large swell conditions and the high tide is making it extremely dangerous for the public to enter the water in these conditions,” Mr Shales said.

“If you are not a strong swimmer, do not enter the water.

“If you are a strong swimmer and you do go for a swim … it’s important to swim between the flags.

“Do not swim alone. Do not swim at uncontrolled locations.”

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