Feared drowned running from police

Police search for a missing swimmer in Tweed Heads. Photo: John Gass / Daily News
Police search for a missing swimmer in Tweed Heads. Photo: John Gass / Daily News John Gass Twesearch

POLICE divers are expected to join the search for a man who may have drowned after trying to escape police by jumping into the Tweed River.

The man, aged in his 30s, was first confronted by police when he was sitting in a car with a woman on Urliup Road, near Bilambil on Thursday afternoon.

Police approached the car after they recognised it as being stolen. On closer inspection they noticed the ignition had been tampered with.

Police say the man saw the officers and jumped over the woman, who was sitting in the passenger seat, before climbing out the window and running away.

The woman was spoken to by police but she refused to tell them who the man was.

Tweed Police duty officer Inspector Gary Cowan said police received various sightings of the man around Bilambil, eventually hearing someone fitting the man's description was at Tweed Heads.

About 8pm, police approached the man near the Scales Seafood shop on Kennedy Drive.

The man then ran towards the Tweed River and jumped in.

Police said the man tried to swim across the river but they lost sight of him as he was swept down stream.

Police patrolled both sides of the river and an overhead bridge until midnight.

Insp Cowan said the river's strong currents and dangerous undertows posed a great risk to the man.

"He may have got out of the water but we just don't know yet," he said yesterday morning.

Point Danger Marine Rescue commander Bernie Gabriel said the current was running out about six or seven knots at the time of his disappearance.

"We were put on alert about 8.30pm (NSW) and were patrolling the stretch of river for about two hours," Mr Gabriel said.

A preliminary search on Thursday night by police and the Volunteer Marine Rescue failed to locate the man.

The searched resumed yesterday morning with the help of State Emergency Service volunteers, Surf Life Saving NSW, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and police.

The search was called off at 4pm yesterday and was expected to resume early this morning.

The man is described as aged in his 30s, between 160 and 170 cm tall, of slim build, bald and was wearing a T-shirt, black shorts and no shoes when he jumped in the river.

Anyone with information should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Topics:  drowning police

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