Tragically, a devastating incident occurred near Phillip Island, a beloved vacation destination in Victoria. Regrettably, a fourth individual has succumbed to their injuries in the hospital after being rescued from the treacherous waves at an unguarded beach.
This distressing event unfolded yesterday, involving a group of relatives who found themselves in perilous circumstances while swimming near Forest Caves in Newhaven, situated around 149 kilometers southeast of Melbourne.
Who were the people who drowned at Phillip Island?
The victims include a 20-year-old female student, a 23-year-old man, and a 20-year-old student, all from Clyde, along with 43-year-old Reema Sondhi from India.
The group encountered trouble in the surf, and despite the valiant efforts of two off-duty lifeguards who pulled them from the water and administered CPR, three individuals were pronounced dead at the scene.
The fourth victim, a 20-year-old woman airlifted to the hospital in critical condition, has tragically succumbed to the incident.
Victoria Police Eastern Region Assistant Commissioner Karen Nyholm revealed that all four swimmers were related and part of an extended family group at the beach.
The family had gathered with a total of nine members, and the tragedy unfolded when four individuals decided to wade into the waters. Unfortunately, the area is known for its rips and treacherous conditions, leading to the devastating outcome.
Swift Rescue Efforts
The off-duty lifesavers acted promptly to rescue the swimmers, but the circumstances and the number of lives lost are described as horrific by Assistant Commissioner Nyholm. Friends and family of the victims are grappling with the profound shock, and Nyholm emphasized the lasting impact on those who witnessed the tragic incident.
Investigation and Response
The authorities have not provided detailed information about the circumstances of the drownings, indicating that a thorough investigation by the coroner will follow. The unpatrolled nature of the beach, situated approximately four kilometers from on-duty lifeguards, underscores the importance of safety awareness.
Life-Saving Victoria General Manager of Operations Liam Krige commended the off-duty lifesavers for their swift response and expressed condolences to the affected families. The incident marks the worst mass drowning in Victoria since 2005 and adds to the alarming tally of drownings in the region since December.
Government Response and Safety Measures
Victorian Premier Jacinta Allen extended condolences to the affected families and emphasized the tragic reminder of the dangers associated with swimming. The Victorian Government is actively working on enhancing communication about swimming risks, particularly for diverse and migrant communities newly arrived in Australia.
Krige emphasized the significance of avoiding chances at unpatrolled beaches, emphasizing that some areas may seem safe but pose hidden dangers for those unaware.