Sickening wait for family of five-year-old

Last updated 19:41 11/07/2014

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A family's sickening wait for the body of their five-year-old loved one continues after he was swept away by a freak wave on NSW's Central Coast.

Chayce Kofe was playing with relatives on the shoreline at Pearl Beach on Thursday afternoon when a large wave swept him into the ocean.

The youngster, who was on holiday at the coastal hamlet with his extended family, hasn't been found.

Chayce's aunt is devastated.

''I may have only held you in my arms for a moment...but I will  hold you in my heart forever Chayce,'' she posted on Facebook.

''Loving you always Aunty Wella.''

The little boy's aunt said she is heading to nearby Umina to be  with her family.

It's understood Chayce's mother arrived at Pearl Beach on  Friday.

A frantic search involving helicopters, police divers, boats and  jet skis continued on Friday but has failed to find Chayce.

His family embraced each other on the beach and at a nearby  house as the rescue operation turned into a recovery mission.

''We always hold out some hope but my experience tells me that we  have been going for some time and unfortunately I think we are in  the recovery stage,'' Marine Area Commander Mark Hutchings told reporters.

''And that is quite tragic and our hearts and thoughts do go out to the family this morning.''

Locals say the picturesque Central Coast beach has been popular  with school holidays over the past week, despite being unpatrolled.

The northern tip of the beach, where Chayce is feared drowned, is notoriously dangerous.

At 2pm on Friday, Chayce's body had not been found.

Surf Life Saving spokesman Aaron Camp said it is a tragic  reminder of how hazardous Australian beaches can be.

''Our hearts go out to the families more than anyone else and we  will be doing our best to find this young boy,'' he said.

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- AAP

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