Community mourns death of Coast jet ski rider
THE mates of a Gold Coast man who died during a jet ski trip are recovering at home after watching their friend take his last breath on the sand yesterday.
The 54-year-old Hope Island man had been out on the waves with three friends at South Stradbroke Island when he found himself in trouble in the water just before 8am.
Police broke the news to the man's family yesterday morning, shortly after he was pulled from the water unresponsive.
Paramedics say the man fell into the surf and lost consciousness one nautical mile north of the seaway on the ocean side of the island.
His mates dived into the water when he began to struggle but the man could not be revived after they reached the shore.
Police are awaiting autopsy results to see whether the man, who was an experienced rider, suffered a medical episode.
Gold Coast Water Police boss Jay Notaro said the friends were understandably emotional but there was nothing they could have done to save him.
"Some white water has hit him and he's come off the jet ski and began struggling in the water, this is just a tragic set of circumstances."
"They're obviously quite traumatised, this was a friend of theirs … but so far I can't see anything that would have saved this man's life" he said.
The tight-knit jet ski community along with residents from the Hope Island and Runaway Bay area joined together to mourn yesterday as word spread about the man's identity.
Many pledged to help his family in any way possible.
The man is the fourth person to die on southeast Queensland waterways since Christmas Day, and the second Gold Coast man believed to have suffered fatal medical complications in the water in the last three days.
Queensland Ambulance Service have reported a number of near-drownings at Gold Coast beaches and pools in recent weeks, including six since Christmas.
Senior Sergeant Notaro urged water users to keep an eye on conditions, particularly when venturing to more rugged, isolated parts of the Coast.
"You need to be swimming within your limits, especially when we have some swell come around at this time," he said.
SS Notaro said waterways have been busier than usual as locals and visitors alike enjoy time off over the festive season but generally water users had been behaving themselves.