Nightmare phone call
Drowned student’s parents told of death
THE Japanese parents of an exchange student who died while snorkelling at Green Island have received the crushing phone call notifying them of his death.
Police are preparing a report for the coroner after the boy’s motionless body was pulled from the water on Wednesday.
Lifeguards performed CPR on the 16-year-old but were unable to resuscitate him.
Steven Garland from the Japanese Consular Office in Cairns said the boy’s closest family members were deciding what steps to take next.
“We have been involved, assisting both the police and the family in the matter,” he said.
“They’re in discussions about whether to come to Australia or not – they’re not clear on that themselves.”
Mr Garland confirmed the boy was on an exchange trip to Australia but was unaware whether he was based in Cairns during his stay.
Study Cairns president Carol Doyle had contacted all of her organisation’s providers but none were believed to have hosted him.
“He might have been a student on a short-term study tour – more of a group excursion or tourist-type group,” she speculated.
The suspected drowning is Green Island’s eighth in the past decade, making the popular tourist spot one of the most dangerous swimming areas in Australia.
Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said compelling tourists to take personal flotation devices with them while snorkelling would be impossible to enforce.
He said the best option now was to wait for the coroner to deem the cause of death.
“This is about finding out what happened and a lot of that will come from the autopsy,” he said.
“A young person losing their life in what is fairly normal conditions, that’s something that alarms us all.”
Mr Crawford said his heart was with the family back in Japan.
“That would be the worst phone call of their lives,” he said.
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