Great Barrier Reef takes third fatality in a week
AUSTRALIA - A British man has died while diving on the Great Barrier Reef, the third death in three days among visitors to Australia’s popular natural tourist attraction.
The 60-year-old man was found without a breathing device during a tandem scuba dive at Agincourt reef, 100km north of Cairns, yesterday. Col McKenzie, of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, said the man was on his second certified dive of the day. He was spotted on the sea floor at a depth of 15m, with his regulator out of his mouth. A nurse on board the tour vessel Silversonic tried in vain to revive the man with a defibrillator, a spokeswoman for Queensland ambulance service said. The British man, who has not yet been named, was accompanied by his wife and had travelled to the reef with tour operator Quicksilver, the Cairns Post reported. A doctor flew to the scene but the man could not be resuscitated, the ambulance service said. Two French tourists died on the reef from near simultaneous heart attacks on Wednesday. Jacques Goron, 76, and Danielle Franck, 74, died within minutes of each other while snorkelling on Wednesday at Michaelmas Cay, also near Cairns. Both had pre-existing medical conditions and it is believed both suffered heart attacks. An Australian cardiologist has speculated whether they were stung by highly venomous Irukandji jellyfish but a dive industry representative said there was no sign of jellyfish at the scene. McKenzie said three deaths in three days was an exceptional turn of events on the reef but it was difficult to draw any lessons from what appeared to be tragic coincidence. “It is really unusual but I’m kind of at a loss,” he said.