Freak wave claims the lives of an elderly couple near Pink Cave on the NSW Central Coast

An elderly couple from North Epping who were found drowned on the Central Coast, north of Sydney, were hit by a freak wave while sightseeing at the popular Pink Cave, police say.

Key Points:

  • Bodies of elderly couple found on nearby beaches near dangerous rocks on central coast
  • NSW Police say the incident was a tourist trip gone wrong, with the woman believed to have been washed off the rocks.
  • Two other people have been washed off the rocks to their deaths this year

The body of an 80-year-old woman was found yesterday afternoon in the waters off Moonee Beach, near Pink Cave.

Her 76-year-old husband was found by a police helicopter this morning, three kilometers from nearby Birdie Beach.

NSW Police Chief Inspector Peter Vromans said the incident was a tourist trip gone wrong.

“Yesterday a woman was found dead on Moonee Beach and she was walking along the cliffs to access a cave we call the Pink Cave,” said Detective Chief Inspector Vromans.

NSW Police Chief Inspector Peter Vromans said the incident was a tourist trip gone wrong. (ABC Newcastle: Giselle Wakatama)

“It appears tragically that she was swept into the ocean and appears to have drowned.

“The search continued yesterday and this morning for her husband and tragically at 9:45 this morning our police helicopter spotted him in the water.”

He said the area is highly touted on social media, but a notorious site for dead.

“That’s the tragedy because Cova Rosa is quite popular,” he said.

“However, this stretch of coast from Catherine Hill Bay to the south can be very treacherous.”

Detective Chief Inspector Vromans said distraught family members told police the pair were fit for their age, even for the difficult terrain, and had made the trip to Pink Cave before .

He said it appeared the pair were not wearing life jackets and were caught off guard.

“Talking to the surf lifesavers at the scene, they explained that conditions can look pretty calm for minutes, but then a big swell can come through and catch people off guard,” he said.

“Unless you have a very good understanding of the sea conditions, my advice would be not to go on this trip, things can change very quickly.

“Winds can change, conditions can change and it’s very difficult for anyone who’s not an expert to pick what’s going to happen in the next few minutes.”

A report is being prepared into the couple’s death.

Another woman in her 20s was swept off the rocks and died in Cova Rosa in April after a brave rescue attempt by two other people.


A man died nearby a month earlier.

Moonee Beach is an unpatrolled beach popular with campers and hikers.

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