‘My heart is aching for all involved’
A TEENAGER who died after being pulled unconscious from the water off Devonport's Bluff was swimming in a place she loved when the fun afternoon turned to tragedy.
Fourteen-year-old Georgia Lewtas was a big fan of the North-West beauty spot as evidenced by a photo of the rocks at the Bluff recreation area which graced her Facebook cover.
The St Brendan's-Shaw College student was helped by passers-by after getting into difficulty while swimming with a friend on December 11.
Two police officers and two members of the public entered the water after the two girls were seen to be in difficulty about 3.30pm.
Georgia's friend managed to swim to shore unassisted but Georgia was face down in the water when rescuers reached her.
Public servant Anthony King, who was in Devonport for a meeting, held on to Georgia until the Devonport Surf Life Saving Club rescue boat arrived.
She was taken to the Mersey Community Hospital before being transferred to Hobart in a critical condition.
Police confirmed on Monday morning that she had died on Sunday.
Mr King said he had been hit hard by the news.
"I can't imagine what the family are going through at this time. It is all very sad," Mr King said.
It is not the first time the rough waters around the rocks at the Bluff have claimed a life.
A tribute to 27-year-old Luke Jacobs who died saving the life of his mate in the same area in 2010 serves as a stark reminder of the dangers.
Devonport Surf Life Saving Club vice-president Luke Emmett told the Mercury he wished people would not swim off the rocks, but knew it would probably continue.
"You can be a strong swimmer and still get in trouble," Mr Emmett said.
On Facebook, Georgia's friends, friends of the family and strangers all paid tribute to the youngster.
"My heart is aching for all involved," one poster said.
"Just an absolute tragedy," said another.
Others raised concerns for Georgia's swimming mate saying she would need great support at this difficult time.
Tasmania Police said Georgia's family had thanked police, Surf Life Saving Australia and Ambulance Tasmania for their efforts in trying to save their loved one.
"The family have expressed their appreciation for the assistance provided by the staff at the Mersey Community Hospital and the Royal Hobart Hospital. They have thanked the good Samaritans that went to the aid of Georgia when she was in the water," Inspector Stuart Wilkinson said.
"Understandably this is a very distressing time for Georgia's family and they have asked that their privacy be respected at this very difficult time.
"Our thoughts and condolences are with all affected by this tragic event."