A human bone discovered at a shipwreck site off Byron Bay in northern NSW will be forensically tested by police against known missing persons cases.
The bone was retrieved by dive instructor Jason Baker at the SS Wollongbar shipwreck on May 6.
He was with two students on a morning dive when he noticed the bone protruding about 10 centimetres out of the sand.
"I was certain it was human which makes you feel sort of shocked and a little bit uneasy," Mr Baker said.
"I just really feel for families that have people missing."
A NSW Police spokesperson told ACM police divers conducted a further search of the area on May 13.
"Officers attached to Tweed-Byron Police District are investigating following the discovery of a bone offshore at Belongil Beach, Byron Bay, about 1.30pm on [May 6]," the spokesperson said.
"The bone has undergone initial forensic examination, which determined it was human.
"It will now undergo further forensic testing to identify its origin which will include comparison with known missing persons.
"Investigations continue and a report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner."
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Meanwhile, Mr Baker said it was a reminder of the "tragic reality" of the ocean.
He believes people need to be more aware of how to stay safe in the water.
"People have an idyllic perception of how the water will be and a false perception of safety," he said.
There have been a number of disappearances in the area, with the most high profile that of 18-year-old Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, who has not been seen since a night out in Byron Bay in 2019.