Rough seas are hampering the search for a Pakistani national missing after being swept off rocks and into the sea at Nobbys Beach at Newcastle in the New South Wales Hunter region.
Two 23-year-old international students were at a rock face near the ocean when a wave knocked them into the water last night, NSW police said.
Authorities said the beach was closed at the time because of swells of up to five metres hitting the coast.
Bystanders managed to rescue one of the men, but the second could not be found after a two-hour search involving local officers, water police, lifeguards and the Westpac rescue helicopter.
Chirag Modi said he saw the two men go into the water, and it happened very quickly.
"They were actually from Pakistan. I saw them taking some video by themselves and it happened too fast," he said.
"All of a sudden a big wave, a big massive wave, actually came and I think the one who was drowning, it looked like he hit the rock, and that's where the thing has gone wrong."
Newcastle duty officer, Chief Inspector Trevor Shields, said rough seas were hampering the search effort, but he was still hopeful the student would be found.
"It's difficult conditions for them out there, but the search will continue while they think there's an opportunity to locate the man," he said.
"Certainly the scale of that will change, however we'll keep pursuing it while we think there's going to be a result."
Ryan Teasdale died in NSW floodwaters
The incident comes just days after an 11-year-old boy died when he was swept into a flooded drain after weeks of heavy rain in the Wollongong area.
Ryan Teasdale was playing with friends on boogie boards on a slope in Riley Park at Unanderra when he disappeared, sparking a full-scale search last Thursday.
His body was found in a creek bed the following day.
Wet weather is expected to continue in parts of New South Wales this week but the threat of flooding has eased, according to the SES.
More than 4,000 people remain isolated by floodwaters across the state's mid north coast, but river levels are falling.
The affected areas include Thora, Darkwood, Taylors Arm and Kalang, and residents in Iluka are isolated during the high tide.
Between Yamba and Macksville over the weekend there were 337 jobs and 10 flood rescues, with the majority in the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen area.
State Emergency Service spokesman Todd Burns said conditions were easing, but people still needed to use caution.
"We have had, across the state, six flood rescues overnight and we have had 298 jobs that volunteers have been attending to over the 24-hour period as well," he said.