THE FAMILY of a Kempsey man feared drowned at Ebor Falls on Sunday have made a sad journey back to the site of the tragic accident, as raging floodwaters postpone the search for his body.
New England Local Area Command police said the 37-year-old man fell over the rocky edge of the 100-metre Ebor Falls, 80 kilometres east of Armidale, at around 6pm on Sunday.
Traumatised friends, who witnessed the fall, alerted police and State Emergency Services who searched for him until nightfall without success.
Police said hopes had faded of finding the man alive, with the Guy Fawkes River swollen after recent heavy rains and inaccessible terrain making the search difficult.
Inclement weather in the area has also hampered attempts to find the man, with Monday's search called off after just two hours for the safety of the search party.
New England police said the family of the man travelled to the scene of the accident on Monday and were sympathetic to the difficulty of the search.
National Parks and Wildlife Service staff are continuing to monitor the level of the river, with police, Pol-Air and SES on standby to continue the search once the weather clears.
A NPWS spokesperson said the initial drop over the falls was about 20 metres onto a rocky outcrop, before the falls dropped a further 20 metres into a larger pool.
The river then passes through a rocky channel before another 60-metre waterfall further on.
New England Local Area Command duty officer, Inspector Rod Shoesmith said the man had been travelling from Armidale to Kempsey with friends when they stopped for a break at the popular tourist spot.
"He walked 90 metres off a designated walking track and stood on top of the waterfall," Inspector Shoesmith said.
Witnesses told police the man walked to a lookout and then out onto the rock ledge at the top of the falls, lost his balance and fell head first over the edge.
"Police are interviewing a number of people who witnessed the event," said Inspector Shoesmith.
He said the tragic event was "not likely to have a happy outcome".
"Due to the circumstances of the accident, police will be investigating the circumstances and preparing a report for the coroner."