Friday, June 21, 2024

Bass Coast mourns latest drowning victims

Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Clare Le Serve, has issued a heartfelt statement following the tragic deaths of three people at an unpatrolled beach on Phillip Island yesterday.

Four people were pulled from the surf at Forrest Caves on Wednesday afternoon. Three – a man aged in his 40s and two women in their 20s – were unresponsive and pronounced deceased at the scene while the fourth – believed to be a woman in her 20s – was airlifted to hospital in critical condition.

“Our community is deeply saddened and affected by the drownings in our region. Whilst we live in a beautiful region surrounded by beaches; this is sadly a tragic reminder of how dangerous the ocean can be,” said Mayor Le Serve.

Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Clare Le Serve.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the remaining victim in hospital.

“We extend our thoughts and sincerest thanks to the first responders and other beachgoers who tried to save these victims in a major multi-agency operation.

“As always, we encourage all beach users to assess the environment and take precautions to prevent tragedy by swimming on patrolled beaches, checking signs and swimming between the flags.

“If you are unsure about conditions on a beach; do not swim there. Please only swim on patrolled beaches where there are lifeguards,” the Mayor said.

“We want everyone who comes to enjoy our beaches to go home safely.”

Victoria Police said emergency services responded to four swimmers in difficulty at Forrest Caves, on the island’s south-eastern coast, at about 3.30pm.

“The deceased have not been formally identified and their deaths are not being treated as suspicious,” Victoria Police said in a statement overnight.

The tragedy follows another drowning 11 days earlier at the Surf Beach just two kilometres north-east of Forrest Caves; while on 12 January a man in his 20s died at Kilcunda Surf Beach.

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