Tourist dies on scuba trip

A POST mortem was carried out yesterday on a 23-year-old Irish tourist who died while diving near Hayman Island on Monday afternoon but it could be weeks before the cause of her death is released.

Whitsunday Water Police were awaiting the results yesterday afternoon and investigations into the woman's death were continuing.

The woman, whose name has not been released by police, was on the second day of a three day sailing trip with the vessel Summertime.

Sergeant Graeme Pettigrew said the woman was taking part in a supervised introductory dive organised by the tour operators and was found on the bottom of the ocean floor.

She was taken to the Hayman Island medical centre but after a series of resuscitation attempts, could not be revived.

Sgt Pettigrew said the quality of water visibility on Monday afternoon was not the best.

He ruled out stingers or shark attack.

It is believed the tourist was travelling with friends and that one friend had been travelling with her for four months after they met in Sydney. Whitsunday Sailing Adventures looks after the marketing and reservations for 14 independently owned vessels including Summertime.

Managing director Adrian Bram said safety was the single most important focus of all of the vessel operators.

Tourism Whitsundays chief executive Peter O'Reilly said he was saddened to hear the news.

“Our deepest sympathies are extended to the family and friends of the young lady who has sadly passed away while enjoying a holiday,” he said.

“Our thoughts are also with the crew of the vessel involved who did all they could to assist in the rescue.

Mr O'Reilly said about one million international and domestic visitors dive and snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef each year.

“Queensland has some of the strictest diving guidelines in the world and is therefore one of the safest regions to Scuba Dive in the world,” he said.

“However diving is an adventure activity and as such there are some inherent risks.” He said the news was tragic but incidents like this were rare.

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