Night­mare phone call

Drowned stu­dent’s par­ents told of death

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - CHRIS CALCINO [email protected]

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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