Salmon Holes rock-fishing deaths to be probed

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

A WA coroner will again probe rock-fishing deaths at the notorious Salmon Holes after an inquest was set for three men who were swept off the coast in the past two years.

Chunjun Li and Jiaolong Zhang were swept off the rocks during unpredictable 8m swells at the popular fishing location on April 18, 2015, and only one of the men’s bodies was recovered by rescue authorities.

The men, who did not speak English, were swept into the water at 7.15am, but were understood to be tied together by a rope which was secured to a rock.

Mr Zhang was never recovered, prompting a mandatory inquest.

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The inquest is set down for November 20-23 in Albany.

The coroner is also set to examine the death of Afghan refugee Mohammed Ali Soltani, who was swept off rocks in April last year, almost exactly a year after Mr Li and Mr Zhang perished.

Mr Soltani, 30, was the 13th death at Salmon Holes since 1983 when the rope he had used to tie himself to rocks broke.

The inquest will also be held in Albany on November 24.

An emergency telephone to improve response times; increased warning signage; and life buoys have been installed at Salmon Holes in recent years in response to rock-fishing deaths, while Recfishwest has carried out extensive educational campaigns for tourists and locals.

The closure of the notorious fishing spot has been regularly mooted, as well as a potential name-change to deter anglers from fishing from the rocks.

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