Irishman dies in Australian drowning accident
Published 19/07/2010 | 05:00
AN Irish backpacker has drowned in a lake in a remote area of Australia's Northern Territory. It is believed he may have become trapped by reeds while swimming.
It is understood the 27-year-old man -- who is not being named until relatives have been informed -- was from Northern Ireland and had been travelling with a group of 20 backpackers from Ireland and Britain.
A police spokesman said he entered the water in Kakadu National Park, 171km south-east of Darwin, at around 7pm on Saturday evening.
The Malanbanjbanjdju Billabong -- or pool -- is about 200 metres by 50 metres and is dangerous due to the presence of crocodiles.
His companions called the emergency services when the backpacker did not surface.
Louise Jorgenson, duty superintendent for the Northern Territory Police, said the man was not believed to have been a strong swimmer.
"He went for a swim," she said. "About 20 metres out he disappeared beneath the surface. Police and rangers were called -- they carried out an extensive search and finally located him at 10pm."
Supt Jorgenson added that his companions had been fearful of entering the water due to signs warning of crocodiles.
"It doesn't appear that he was taken by a crocodile, just that he wasn't a strong swimmer and appears to have got into some difficulty."
An autopsy is due to be carried out to confirm the cause of death.
The man had been staying in Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, before going in a group to Kakadu.
Meanwhile, new figures released yesterday show that officials helped in 97 incidents involving Irish people who died overseas in the first half of the year.
The figure, which included people who died in incidents ranging from plane crashes to road accidents and illnesses, is down from 119 in the first six months of last year.
The new figures also show that cases of crime, illness and accidents involving Irish people abroad jumped by more than a fifth in the first half of 2010.
Some 660 cases were dealt with since January compared to 540 in the same period in 2009.
Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said that more than 4,000 calls over the volcano travel disruption were not included in the six-month round-up, given the uniqueness of the event.