Man drowns while mowing

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A man has drowned in a freak accident when the ride-on lawnmower he was using slid into a golf course water hazard and trapped him underwater.

The man drowned after his ride-on-mower fell into a dam at the back of his house. It was not until the 67-year-old failed to turn up for work today - nearly 24 hours later - that a search began for him. His body was found in the pond, one of the water hazards on the Ocean Shores Golf Course in northern New South Wales, with the mower lying on top of him.

Police said early investigations suggested the bizarre accident had occurred the day before when the man - who has yet to be named - was cutting the lawn of a house that backs onto the golf course. A spokesman said it appeared that the grass-cutting handyman was sitting on the half-ton mower when it slid into the golf course pond.

As it hit the water it rolled over, trapping the man underneath, and, unable to free himself, he drowned. The man was reported missing when he failed to turn up for his jack-of-all trades job at the Mullumbimby pub.

Police and fire services launched a search for the man before calling in the added assistance of a helicopter crew.

When the lawn mower was spotted lying in the pond rescuers feared the worst. The man's body was found underneath and an operation was started to retrieve him. Early investigations indicate the man died around 1pm yesterday.

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