Search crews are scouring waters for a foreign student, believed to be from Pakistan, swept from rocks into the ocean at Newcastle.
Two 23-year-old men, both international students, were on a rock face near Nobbys Beach at about 7pm on Sunday when they were knocked into the ocean by a wave, police said.
Bystanders helped one of the men to safety, but the second man, who was wearing a navy blue T-shirt and black jeans, could not be found.
Water police, a rescue helicopter, and surf life savers began a search for the man but it was called off at about 9.40pm due to hazardous conditions.
The crews set out again at 7am on Monday in slightly better surf conditions.
"They were actually from Pakistan. I saw them taking some video by themselves and it happened too fast," a witness told ABC.
The incident comes a month after two Nepalese students drowned off a Sydney beach.
In mid February, a 23-year-old woman and 26-year-old man, went to Maroubra Beach in the evening. Both bodies were found in the following days.
Surf Life Saving NSW issued a warning on Friday warning of dangerous surf conditions along the NSW coast for the weekend.
© AAP 2017