Friday 9 December 2016

Two French snorkellers die on Great Barrier Reef tour

Published 16/11/2016 | 07:47

Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Photo: PA Photo/Renato Granieri.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Photo: PA Photo/Renato Granieri.

Two elderly French tourists died on Wednesday in a bizarre tragedy after they both suffered heart attacks while snorkelling at Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the tour company said.

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The man and woman, both in their 70s, were part a group of 21 French tourists on a trip to Michaelmas Cay, north of Cairns, Passions of Paradise tour group said.

"They had pre-existing medical conditions and were accompanied by a guide when they were in the water," said Scotty Garden, Passions of Paradise chief executive, in a statement.

Further details were not immediately available.

The Great Barrier Reef stretches 2,000 km (1,200 miles) along Australia's northeast coast and is the world's largest living ecosystem.

It attracts more than two million visitors each year and brings in billions of dollars in tourism revenue.

"We have about five deaths each year on the Great Barrier Reef but in 35 years in the industry, I have never seen two people die on the same tour," said Col McKenzie, executive director of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators.

Reuters

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