TWO people died after an afternoon adventure in an eastern suburbs stormwater drain ended in tragedy yesterday. A third man miraculously escaped injury.
The survivor, who knew only his companions' first names, told police they had entered the drain in Moverly Road, Kingsford - almost two kilometres from where they were washed out to sea.
Inspector Eddie Bosch said the group had been drinking alcohol and spraying graffiti inside the drain when they heard the sound of rushing water. "They spent about half an hour doing the artwork, not that far from the entrance," he said. "Then they've heard a noise and suddenly the water is upon them and they've washed all the way to Lurline Bay."
They smashed into steel bars at the end of the drain but the 27-year-old slipped through. "The others have got multiple injuries. He's just got a little scratch on his hip," Inspector Bosch said.
Graffiti left at the manhole where they entered the drain reads: "Predators memorial this way."
Phillip Collins, 29, from Maroubra, told the Herald he had walked through the drain about a year ago with friends.
"It's really dark and there's nowhere to go," he said.
Inspector Eddie Bosch said the quick actions of local residents had saved the 27-year-old.
"He managed to wave his arms around and some residents across the other side of the bay have seen him in trouble.
"They've got on their surfboards and gone across and literally saved his life," Inspector Bosch said.
Rescue crews arrived at about 6.30pm but were unable to save the young man and woman, also believed to be in their twenties.
A neighbour, Susan Hutchinson, 40, went to see why helicopters were hovering near the cliff and saw a young woman's body being winched out of the water by a rescue helicopter.
"The question is what are they doing here in the first place?" Ms Hutchinson said.
Inspector Bosch said: "It just shows the dangers of going into these sort of places. Stormwater drains are not anywhere people should go."
Officers later searching the drain found a bag of spray paint cans inside, police said.
graffiti artists drown. hmmmm, i'm having trouble working up some sympathy here. i hate graffiti artists. seems like the karma wheel has spun again.