Probes launched into Barrier Reef tourist’s snorkel death

The Great Barrier Reef attracts millions of tourists every year.

The Great Barrier Reef attracts millions of tourists every year. Photo: AAP/GBRMPA

A number of investigations have been launched after a 71-year-old man died while snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

The South Australian man was reportedly found unresponsive in the water while on a reef trip about 60km off Cairns in the state’s far north on Monday afternoon.

He was pulled from the water near Norman Reef and a rescue helicopter was sent but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The Queensland Premier on Friday said Workplace Health and Safety would be doing a “thorough review” and there would also be a coronial inquest.

“We want to get to the bottom of what happened here and to make improvements to ensure it will never happen again,” Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority is also believed to be looking at the incident.

The far north’s marine park tourism peak body told Nine Network the reef tour operator involved was co-operating with authorities.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe extended his condolences to the man’s family.

“I don’t want to pre-empt anything … but these are all matters that need to be looked at very closely in relation to the operator, in relation to general operations, the circumstances of the day,” he said.

“Any tragedy that occurs anywhere in our community, but particular in our visitor economy, is something that is of great concern.

“I certainly don’t want to see this incident swept under the carpet, but I equally don’t want to see it blown out of proportion.”


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