Water safety warning after Fraser Island drownings
ANDREW Plint knows all too well the heartbreaking loss of a child.
His daughter Hannah drowned in the family's backyard pool in Laidley when she was almost three years old.
Hearing of the death of two Japanese teenagers at Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island last week, he understood the pain those who loved the boys would be feeling.
Since Hannah's death, Mr Plint and his wife Katherine have set up a foundation to support other families who have lost a child to drowning.
They also encourage others to be aware of the dangers of entering the water, even in an area considered to be safe.
Mr Plint said the message was simple.
"Still water can still kill," he said.
While the ocean surrounding Fraser Island has always been considered potentially dangerous, the lakes and creeks were thought to be relatively safe.
That hasn't always been the case however.
In 2010 a 20-year-old woman had to be airlifted to Hervey Bay Hospital after she almost drowned in Lake McKenzie.
A doctor at the scene was able to save her life by performing CPR.
Later that year tragedy struck when a 24-year-old Korean tourist drowned while snorkelling in Lake Wabby on the island.
Police said the man wasn't a strong swimmer.
But Mr Plint said even strong swimmers needed to be careful.
"Just because you can swim doesn't mean you can't drown," he said.
"All it takes is a cramp or bump to head. It can happen anywhere, any time."
Mr Plint said his heart went out to the families who had lost their sons as well as their school and the emergency service crews who attended the scene.
Yesterday member for Hervey Bay Ted Sorensen called for a public memorial for the two boys while offering his condolences to their families and friends.
"When I was the mayor, when other lives were regrettably lost by Fraser Island tourists, the city of Hervey Bay invited the two families to plant trees in the Botanical Gardens, as a memorial tribute to their lives," he said.
"I believe it is important that we offer the families a place of remembrance."