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Father and son drown at Airlie Beach lagoon

Father and son drown at Airlie Beach lagoon
October 29, 2018

Two overseas tourists - a father and son - have drowned while swimming at the Airlie Beach lagoon in the Whitsundays.

The pair, believed to be from China, were, according to Queensland Police, underwater for six minutes before they were noticed and an alarm was raised.

Emergency services were called to the popular attraction just before 4pm on Sunday.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said paramedics were called to treat a five-year-old and a 30-year-old male, who were in a critical condition and had gone into cardiac arrest.

They had been pulled from the water and were on the beach when paramedics arrived and tried to resuscitate them. Rushed to Proserpine Hospital in a critical condition neither could be saved.

Queensland Police Inspector Steve O'Connell said CCTV of the pool showed the man, who apparently couldn't swim, entering the pool with his son at the shallow end.

Inspector O'Connell told the ABC “the father's moved along into slightly deeper water with the son on his back and he's gone into slightly more deeper water and from there both of them have gone under.

"He's tried to raise the alarm but it wasn't sufficient for anyone that was around him to notice the distress that they were in or that they were sinking to the bottom.

"Unfortunately despite it being a crowded situation on a hot, busy day in the lagoon, no-one has noticed the circumstances unfolding until some, approximately, six minutes after they went under."

Inspector O'Connell said when someone swimming noticed the man at the bottom of the pool the alarm was raised and lifeguards pulled him from the water.

He added that the boy was pulled from the water a few minutes later and there was a "frantic" effort to resuscitate them.

Inspector O'Connell added that the man's wife was at the pool at the time, advising “after the father and son have gone into the water, mum has left the lagoon area briefly to get a drink. When she's returned the tragedy is unfolding before her eyes.”

He said the woman was "exceptionally distraught" and was being helped by the Chinese embassy.

Inspector O'Connell said it was a tragic set of circumstances, concluding “that you can drown in a crowded public area like that, but the CCTV clearly shows it was not something that anyone around them could pick up on.”

The Airlie Beach lagoon is patrolled by lifeguards and is a popular destination for locals and visitors.

A report will now be prepared for the Queensland Coroner.

Related Articles

26th October 2018 - Keep Watch research shows alarming scale of toddler drowning

16th October 2018 - Coroner seeks to have Dreamworld inquest extended

7th September 2018 - German lifeguards warn that child drownings linked to parents’ smartphone ‘fixation’

19th April 2018 - Royal Life Saving study finds lack of supervision behind child drownings at public facilities

11th March 2018 - Councils and developers look to embrace lagoon lifestyles

17th December 2017 - Complacency surrounding Asian drowning epidemic also impacts Australia

2nd November 2017 - 85% of Queensland aquatic facilities work with Keep Watch anti drowning program

3rd March 2017 - Record summer visits but no drownings on Queensland beaches

22nd September 2016 - Queensland Coast Safe Report identifies dangerous beaches and older men in drowning hazards

18th August 2016 - Coroner finds 2014 Watermarc drowning death was preventable

6th August 2015 - Yeppoon looks to develop foreshore lagoon and wave pool

3rd July 2015 - Airlie Aqua Park opens despite legal threats

20th September 2012 - Latest drowning figures make ‘bleak reading’

5th July 2010 - Anti-drowning technology recommended by a Queensland Coroner no longer has an Australian distributor


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