Warning Issued To Great Barrier Reef Tour Operators Following Tragic Snorkelling Deaths

Investigations are underway into the second snorkelling death of an elderly tourist, on the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns in two weeks.

The most recent tragedy involves a 76-year-old woman, a visitor from overseas, who suffered a medical episode while snorkelling at Michaelmas Cay off the Cairns coast. 

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Despite immediate attempts to revive her by an off-duty doctor present at the scene, the woman tragically did not survive. 

Workplace health and safety, along with local police, are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The incident happened two weeks after the body of an elderly man from South Australia lost his life while snorkelling during a separate tour near Norman Reef off the Cairns coast. 

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A 2022 study examining 166 snorkelling-related deaths in Queensland between 2000 and 2019 revealed that over two-thirds of the incidents involved overseas tourists. 

However, the study attributed this higher proportion to the increased number of travellers participating in such tours and activities.

In response to these recent tragedies, Workplace Health and Safety is urging operators to be extra vigilant, especially as the region enters the busiest visitation time of the year. 

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