Teen found safe after Taree search

MANNING Great Lakes Police Inspector Christine George is urging people to watch out for their friends following an intensive search of the Manning River yesterday evening, after a teenager was reported missing.

At about 6pm on December 30 the police received a phone call from panicked teens who reported that they had been swimming back across the Manning River, from Tinonee to Nellie's Rock - on the Taree side, when their friend had failed to return with them.

A search of the river bank and the river was undertaken immediately, involving police officers, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Volunteer Rescue Association and local fishermen.It is believed the 17-year-old male and his friends had decided to cross the river together and all reported being fatigued when it came time to head back.

The group of friends told police they had seen their friend enter the water after complaining of being tired but had lost sight of him once they'd all started swimming and he had never returned to the Taree side.

All involved in the search operation were relieved when the boy was located, safe at home after 8.30pm.

He told rescuers he had been too tired to swim back and made the decision to walk home instead.Inspector George said it was a good outcome for all involved but the situation could have been much worse.

"Look after your mates, don't leave people," she said this morning."But we'd also like to warn people of the dangers of swimming across the river, don't do it."

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