Demise on the reef

Six people died in Australian waters last week, including three on the Great Barrier Reef

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Six individuals died in Australian waters final week, together with three on the Nice Barrier Reef

Regardless of six snorkelling or scuba-diving deaths in Australia final week, tourism and certification operators are rejecting a name for a security evaluate, stories Ben Collins.

First got here the tragic information final Wednesday that two aged French tourists had died on a guided snorkelling journey at Michaelmas Cay, a well-liked vacationer spot about 40km (25 miles) north-east of Cairns, in Queensland state.

They reportedly had pre-existing medical circumstances, and suffered cardiac arrests.

Two days later, a 60-year-old British man died in unclear circumstances whereas scuba-diving at Agincourt Reef, additionally in Far North Queensland.

By the weekend, three extra males – considered one of them 68-years-old- had been additionally useless after separate snorkelling and scuba-diving incidents in Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria. Their deaths are nonetheless being investigated.

‘Actually uncommon’

The incidents prompted Australian Underwater Federation President Graham Henderson on Sunday to name for a evaluate of security requirements for scuba-diving programs.

He stated elevated well being screening for older divers ought to be thought of.

“Having that variety of deaths is basically uncommon. I’ve by no means seen it occur earlier than,” stated Mr Henderson, whose organisation is the government-recognised physique for newbie underwater actions in Australia.

“I believe realistically, for older divers from the age of 65 onwards, I believe it might be price having a medical each two years.”

Mr Henderson stated the diving neighborhood was ageing as individuals got here again to the game later in life.

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Tourism operators insist Australia has world-best security requirements

“Individuals might be licensed 20 years earlier than and in a few of the [certifying] organisations there isn’t a course of for renewal,” he stated.

Nonetheless, others comparable to Mike Holme, head of high quality administration at Padi Asia Pacific, deny there may be any concern with security requirements. Padi is a world supplier of scuba-diving coaching and certification.

“There is a self-screening medical assertion that each open-water diver scholar wants to finish,” Mr Holme stated.

“Any dive operator will at all times ask a diver after they final dived and would typically ask for proof of foreign money.

“If it has been greater than two years, they may ask that they do a refresher course or what we name a re-activation course.

“We’re at all times telling our divers to refresh their abilities and re-activate. We additionally inform them if they’ve any medical circumstances which have modified since their final dive, to go and discuss to their physician about it.”

‘Most secure’ rules in world

The Affiliation of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) Govt Director Col McKenzie additionally rejected there was a difficulty with present requirements.

However he stated older individuals ought to pay attention to the dangers related to both snorkelling or scuba-diving.

“We’re probably the most regulated diving and snorkelling business wherever on this planet. We’re additionally the most secure,” he stated.

“The truth is that as prospects become older we can have extra deaths, not much less.

“All we are able to do is be certain that we now have the appropriately skilled workers to take care of it as greatest we are able to.

“If you’re two hours off shore and you’ve got a coronary heart assault the end result shouldn’t be good except we are able to get a helicopter to you,” Mr McKenzie stated.