A 63-year-old man has died while snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns.
The man, a tourist from the UK, was taking part in a Reef Magic snorkelling tour at Moore Reef, about 40km off the coast of Cairns, when he passed away at about 12:30pm.
It has been reported that the man suffered a heart attack. According to industry sources, he was only 5 metres away from the snorkelling pontoon when the incident occurred.
A 43-year-old woman was pulled from the water and resuscitated on the same day at an unpatrolled beach on the coral cay of Green Island. She was helicoptered to the mainland and remains in a critical condition in Cairns Base Hospital.
Reef Magic has declined to comment, but Surf Life Saving Queensland regional manager Col Sparkes told local media that the Green Island beach had been patrolled by a lifeguard until last year, when they had to remove the paid position after failing to secure government funding.
Sparkes insisted that the near-drowning at Green Island, which has been rated as one of the most dangerous beaches in Queensland, “could have been avoided” if they’d still had a lifeguard on patrol, saying:
“We have been concerned for a good period of time since we removed the guard from that area.”
These incidents are the latest in a recent spate of fatalities and near-drownings on the reef, some of which are rumoured to have been caused by the deadly irukandji jellyfish.
Police are continuing investigations.
Source: Cairns Post.
Image: Ippei Naoi / Getty.