Drowned teen screamed for help in creek tragedy
A TEENAGER who drowned at a popular swimming hole north of Townsville could be heard screaming for help as he was swept away by rapidly flowing waters.
The 18-year-old Bushland Beach man was at Big Crystal Creek with a group of friends yesterday when they headed to a spot called the "Rock Slides" about 3.30pm.
District duty officer Senior Sergeant Joe Matheson said the teen had leapt from a spot about 3m above the water into the fast-flowing rapids.
"He went underwater and came back up again," Sen-Sgt Matheson said.
"At this point he yelled 'help, help' but at that stage the friends with him thought he was just playing a joke.
"But he went under again and his girlfriend tried to enter the water which was rapidly flowing with fresh floodwaters from the upper Paluma."
Sen-Sgt Matheson said the man's girlfriend decided it was too dangerous. The group had arrived at the swollen creek just five minutes before the teenager jumped into the waters, which were flowing faster than usual due to recent rainfall linked to ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen.
In the 24 hours up to 9am yesterday, the Bureau of Meteorology recorded 238mm of rain at Paluma.
Emergency services were called to the popular swimming spot, off Spiegelhauer Rd at Mutarnee, about 4pm.
Before they arrived a 27-year-old man, who happened to be in the area, found the teen submerged under a log in the watering hole and was able to free him.
The teenager was pulled on to land and given CPR by those around him until ambulance crews arrived on scene.
A Queensland Ambulance Services spokesman said paramedics did all they could to save the young man but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services swift water rescue crews from Townsville and Ingham were part of the emergency response, as were ambulance and police crews. The Queensland Government Rescue helicopter crew were activated for the incident but were not needed.
The teenager was the second person to drown in North Queensaland waters in the past three weeks.
Six-year-old Alliannah Rose Cathcart tragically drowned on November 25 after going missing from a gathering with family and friends at Black River.