Dive op­er­a­tors seek bet­ter way

Plan to tackle in­ci­dence of reef deaths

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS @SCHOOL - Daniel Bateman

DIVE in­dus­try stake­hold­ers will meet with In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Grace Grace later this month to de­velop a plan to re­duce the vis­i­tor death toll on the Great Bar­rier Reef.

It comes as Quick­sil­ver Cruises re­vealed one of its pas­sen­gers was in a sta­ble con­di­tion in Cairns Hospi­tal late last week , af­ter be­ing pulled un­con­scious from the wa­ter while snorkelling at Agin­court Reef on Mon­day.

The 75-year-old Chi­nese woman - who had been equipped with a life jacket, ly­cra suit, and had been snorkelling along a safety line - is the third per­son this week to come into strife dur­ing a Far North­ern reef trip.

A 43-year-old woman who was pulled from the wa­ter at Green Is­land on Wed­nes­day re­mained in a sta­ble con­di­tion in Cairns Hospi­tal on Thurs­day.

The fam­ily of a 63-year-old UK tourist who died while on a snorkelling tour at Moore Reef on Wed­nes­day is ex­pected to ar­rive in Cairns on Fri­day.

The man is the sixth per­son to die on the reef since Novem­ber last year.

Min­is­ter Grace said she was sad­dened to hear of yet an­other tragic death on the reef.

“Our aim is al­ways to en­sure hol­i­day mak­ers and visi­tors can ex­pe­ri­ence the reef safely and re­turn home to their fam­i­lies,” she said.

The Min­is­ter late last year agreed to a ma­jor re­view of safety in Queens­land’s dive sec­tor, in­clud­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of a waiver for snorkellers aged over 60, con­firm­ing they were aware of in­creased risks with the ac­tiv­ity.

Queens­land cur­rently has the high­est recre­ational wa­ter safety stan­dards in the coun­try, with reg­u­la­tions ap­ply­ing to both div­ing and snorkelling.

Ms Grace said all is­sues re­gard­ing reef safety would be on the ta­ble at the Reef Safety Round­table meet­ing, which would be held in Cairns on Fe­bru­ary 22.

Pic­ture: BRIAN CASSEY

Po­lice carry away dive equip­ment from a reef ves­sel fol­low­ing the death of an English tourist

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