Drowning caution for Easter break

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

Albany Sea Rescue hopes the tragic drowning death of Perth man Jack Bray will act as a timely reminder for locals and visitors to be aware of the dangers of the unpredictable south coast this Easter weekend.

The traditionally busy time for rescue authorities including Albany Sea Rescue and Albany Surf Lifesaving emergency response team will begin this weekend when hundreds flock to popular fishing spots including the notorious Salmon Holes. ASR operations co-ordinator Chris Johns said people did not have to be fishing off rocks to be exposed to the dangers, and the unfortunate death of Mr Bray off Boat Harbour, west of Denmark, showed Salmon Holes was not the only dangerous tourist spot.

Mr Bray jumped into the water off Boat Harbour, 25km west of Denmark, to save his friend Erica after she was swept off rocks while taking a photo on April 1.

His body was recovered last week after five days of extensive searching by rescue authorities.

Mr Johns said Mr Bray was friends with his daughter-in-law and attended his son’s wedding.

“They weren’t fishing, and just like that, it happened,” Mr Johns said. “There are no positives in this but it’s still fresh in people’s minds.

“Fifty per cent of the incidents we attend aren’t at the Salmon Holes, which concerns me.

“I know well this could happen anywhere.”

Mr Johns said April 2015 would always remain in his memory after four major rescues and body recoveries in as many weeks.

“In that year, there were two incidents elsewhere and they were locals,” he said.

“Torndirrup is not the only place — history makes us focus on it but in our hearts we know there is potential for serious rescues elsewhere.”

Mr Johns said Sea Rescue and the Albany Surf Life Saving emergency response team were hoping for an incident-free weekend.

“There are volunteers out there devoting their time this Easter to try and prevent acts of human folly.

“If there is an incident, all hell breaks loose to try and save someone.”

Staff across several agencies including Recfishwest and Department of Fisheries will again have a presence at Salmon Holes over Easter to engage with visitors, increase awareness of rock fishing safety, reduce environmental damage and increase understanding of proper waste disposal.

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