Gorge warn­ing af­ter man’s drown­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - An­gelique Pat­ter­son

AU­THOR­I­TIES are urg­ing lo­cals and tourists to be care­ful at fresh­wa­ter swim­ming holes fol­low­ing the death of a Taiwanese tourist, who drowned in the Moss­man Gorge on Satur­day.

The 28-year-old man was swim­ming with his girl­friend and three friends around 3pm that day when he be­came wedged be­tween rocks and was un­able to be reached by other swim­mers.

Queens­land fire and res­cue swift wa­ter crew were called to the scene, along with other emer­gency ser­vices, and re­trieved the man’s body around 6.30pm .

Moss­man Po­lice Of­fi­cer-in-Charge sergeant Matthew Smith said there will be no in­ves­ti­ga­tion as it had been ruled a drown­ing and was a ‘‘bad ac­ci­dent’’.

‘‘All res­i­dents of the Moss­man Port Dou­glas area need to ex­er­cise cau­tion when at­tend­ing lo­cal swim­ming holes dur­ing the wet sea­son. It doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily have to be rain­ing in the area for the lo­cal wa­ter­ways to be af­fected,’’ he said.

‘‘ There’s a 50,000 square km catch­ment on top of the gorge that feeds our wa­ter sys­tem. If it’s rain­ing up in the hills the wa­ter lev­els can rise quickly and dan­ger­ously in mat- ters of sec­ond – people need to be aware of that.

‘‘ Use cau­tion. There has been fa­tal­i­ties in the past with a lot of people swim­ming up in the Gorge.’’

The drown­ing is the sixth one in a string of deaths at fresh­wa­ter swim­ming sports in less than six months, re­sult­ing in some people call­ing for a clo­sure to pop­u­lar spots dur­ing the wet sea­son.

A spokesman for the Depart­ment of Na­tional Parks, Re­cre­ation, Sport and Rac­ing (NPRSR)) said clos­ing the parks over the whole wet sea­son is not con­sid­ered nec­es­sary and ‘‘would have a ma­jor and detri­men­tal im­pact on tourism and pub­lic en­joy­ment of these spe­cial places’’.

‘‘At Moss­man Gorge sig­nage is lo­cated at the car park, main swim­ming beach and the lower track warn­ing vis­i­tors of po­ten­tial dan­gers and risks, and this sig­nage is ad­e­quate.’’

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