Sheffield dad dies in '˜tragic' Great Barrier Reef scuba accident

A Sheffield dad has died in a '˜tragic accident' while scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Saturday, 19th November 2016, 03:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 11:07 am
Port Douglas

The 60-year-old, from Richmond, was rescued from the bottom of the ocean after he was spotted with his breathing equipment out of his mouth during a tandem dive.

Paramedics were called to Agincourt Reef, near Port Douglas, Queensland, at about 12.30pm local time – 1.30am UK time – yesterday.

The man was 15m below the surface when he was found and pulled aboard the Silver Sonic dive boat.

He received CPR both on board the vessel and from a doctor airlifted to a nearby helicopter pad, according to the Queensland Ambulance Service, but died at the scene.

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A spokesman for tour operator Quicksilver said: “We’re not sure as to what has happened at this stage.”

The man, who was travelling with his wife, was a trained diver and was on his second dive of the day.

His cause of death has not yet been established.

The Silver Sonic has operated for 11 years, carrying 230,000 divers without a fatality, according to the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators.

The industry body’s executive director Col McKenzie said: “After an extended effort with no response, the diver was declared dead.

“Accidents like this are a tragedy for the surviving family members, the crew and the passengers.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are in contact with the local authorities following the sad death of a British national on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland and we are providing assistance to the family at this difficult time.”

The man has not yet been named, but it is understood family members are preparing to travel from Sheffield to Australia to be with his wife.

His death came after two French tourists – Jacques Goron, 76, and Danielle Franck, 74 – died while snorkelling on Michaelmas Cay, near Cairns, on Wednesday.

Both had pre-existing medical conditions and it is thought both suffered heart attacks.

Agincourt Reef is about 100km, or 62 miles, north of the city of Cairns, and about 60km north of Michaelmas Cay.