STAY SAFE: Always swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safest area for swimming.
STAY SAFE: Always swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safest area for swimming.

Tragic history of Clarence Valley drownings

THE drowning of a 57-year-old Brisbane man at Yamba's Main Beach today was believed to be one of the first at the tourist hotspot in living memory.

Despite the best efforts of lifeguards and emergency responders the man has drowned after getting caught in a rip current. The man was pulled unconscious from the water by a lifeguard from the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) with the assistance of a member of the public who was an off-duty police officer.

In 2015 Yamba Surf Life Saving Club president Joe Dougherty said as far as he was aware, there were no drownings on Yamba's main beach since 1908 during volunteer patrol hours.

While the Yamba community is in shock following this most recent tragedy, drownings remain all too common.

Here is a flashback of the most recent drownings in the Clarence Valley, with no less than six in the past two years:

January 8 2018

76-year-old Arthur Brennan from Sydney, who drowned in the Upper Clarence River.

It is believed he was camping with family members about 70km north west of Grafton when he experienced difficulties whilst swimming about 6pm.

He drowned in the Upper Clarence River that is notorious for quickly changing water conditions.

April 15 2017

17-year-old Ali Mosawi, went missing off Pebbly Beach who got stuck in a rip when swimming and suspected to have drowned.

Police were told the teenager was swimming at an isolated and patrolled beach with four people near the camping area in the Yuraygir National Park, when the group were washed into a rip current just before 4pm.

The 17-year-old did not return to land and emergency services were unable to locate him.

December 30 2016

A 46-YEAR-OLD Yamba man was pulled from the water unresponsive at the Kolora Lake Reserve, near Yamba Rd and the Treelands Drive commercial area.

CPR was provided, however, he died at the scene.

December 26 2016

60-year-old Geoffrey Blackadder from Grafton drowned at Wooli Beach on Boxing Day.

At approximately 1.15pm emergency services were called to Wooli Beach, following reports a man was pulled from the water and was unresponsive.

Police were told the he had earlier attempted to assist up to four children - understood to be the victim's relatives - who had been caught in a rip and were experiencing difficulties about 75 metres north of the breakwall at Wooli.

Surf Rescue assisted and the children were pulled to safety, Mr Blackadder was also pulled from the water.

CPR was performed,however, he died at the scene.

The scene at Wooli beach on December 27, 2016, the day after Geoffrey Blackadder lost his life in the surf at the holiday spot.
The scene at Wooli beach on December 27, 2016, the day after Geoffrey Blackadder lost his life in the surf at the holiday spot. Frank Redward

November 16 2016

45-year-old Robert Colyn a father from Ashby was casting off the Yamba breakwall about 5pm, when he fell from the breakwall and into the water at 7.45pm.

Coffs/Clarence crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said two people nearby heard what they believed to be calls for help and contacted emergency services, who arrived soon after.

Despite several attempts to rescue and resuscitate him, he could not be revived.

BREAKWATER: The Yamba breakwall on the morning after a Yamba man drowned while fishing.
BREAKWATER: The Yamba breakwall on the morning after a Yamba man drowned while fishing. Clair Morton

January 20 2016

54-year-old Ken McLean from Lismore, was surfing in one to two foot waves at Turners beach in Yamba when he was presumably hit in the head by his board.

He was found floating in the water by nearby boardriders about 3.50pm.

Despite the best efforts of the lifeguard on duty and two off-duty paramedics who attempted to resuscitate him using CPR and a defibrillator, Mr McLean could not be revived and was pronounced dead in the ambulance at 4.35pm.



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