Melbourne: Four Indians, including two Indians, died in a mass drowning incident at an unpatrolled beach in Philip Island in Australia’s Victoria, marking the worst tragedy in Victorian waters in almost 20 years, according to officials. Emergency services responded to reports of four people struggling in the water near Newhaven about 3.30 pm (local time) on Wednesday and all were found unresponsive, according to local media.
“Life Saving Victoria was called to assist four people in trouble in the waters off Forrest Caves on Phillip Island, only a couple of kilometres from our patrolled lifeguard site. Upon arriving at the scene, our lifeguards found that off-duty lifeguards had pulled three of those people from the water and one of our rescue boats pulled that last person from the water,” said Kane Treloar, the state agency commander of Life Saving Victoria.
The identities of the victims have not been disclosed so far. The Indian High Commission in Australia took to social media platform X to offer condolences to the families of the deceased Indians, adding that the Consulate General of India in Melbourne was in touch with friends of the victims.
Philip Green, Australia’s High Commissioner to India, also offered his condolences to the loved ones and friends of the Indians who drowned in Philip Island. “Our hearts go out to everyone affected, including loved ones & friends, by this tragic news. On behalf of the Govt, we offer our condolences to the family,” he said on X.
On Thursday, Treloar said it was the worst drowning incident the state had seen in decades. Victoria Police Eastern Region Assistant Commissioner, Karen Nyholm revealed on Thursday the victims were a man and two women in their 20s, and a woman in her 40s.
Nyholm said a 43-year-old woman who died was holidaying in Australia, and police have confirmed the other three victims lived in the Melbourne suburb of Clyde. Three persons, a man and two women, died at the scene, while the third woman aged in her 20s was rushed to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne and died there. “This tragedy has taken the lives of four people and it’s fair to say the impact will be profound on those families,” Nyholm said.
(with inputs from PTI)