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Six Die, One Missing in Ocean Blowhole Accident

July 11, 1992 GMT

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Six people died Saturday and another person was missing and presumed drowned after ocean waters surging through a blowhole swept spectators at a popular tourist attraction out to sea.

The incident occurred at the Kiama blowhole, about 80 miles south of Sydney on the New South Wales state coast. At least two people were rescued and taken to a hospital.

Blowholes are created when ocean waves rush in toward land and force spray high into the air through weathered openings in cliff faces.

Police said they believe those who died were from two related families. They said two women ages 37 and 21 and an 11-year-old boy were killed from one family, and a 31-year-old woman, a 5-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl from the other.

A 30-year-old person was missing wnd presumed drowned. An air and sea search was called off due to poor visibility and rough seas.

No other details were immediately available.

The Kiama blowhole is one of the area’s most popular tourist attractions. During high seas, water is forced under great pressure through a cavern in the cliff base and spray is thrown high into the air.