Ningaloo Swim Deaths in May; Any Findings ?

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:37
ThreadID: 102945 Views:5803 Replies:6 FollowUps:6
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I've planned for a swim in the Ningaloo shallows at Cape Range on this winter's trip, but was hoping an initial report of some sort may have emerged by now on Kathreen Ricketson (I know coroners take forever). I couldn't see anything in the WA newspaper, or elsewhere. While news reports at the time were worrying enough (considering the consequences for their children), frozen southerners like me have little familiarity with tropical marine hazards.
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:44

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:44
It could take months for any official release of the findings.
There are more versions of what and how it happened being bandied around then there are fish in the reef!
So just come on up and use common sense and make the most of it, like us at present. (Travelling north, in Exmouth at present) Everyone up is just getting out and enjoying this beautiful part of the country. Mind you it would help if it would stop raining! Kevin
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Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 14:45

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 14:45
Oh I'll be up there alright Kevin (and I'll bet the rain has stopped by then :-o)....I had a short swim there a few years back (wonderful). Re common sense .... I've got some of that, but fatal stingers require extra thought in my view (seeing the Irukandji are so tiny, yet so dangerous). I don't recall any warning signage there, like they have in North Queensland (all year round too - with vinegar bottles on the beachside fences).... but the stinger warning sign IN the artificial beach precinct at the northern end of the fabulous Townsville Strand would be public liability gone mad I presume.
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Follow Up By: Kris and Kev - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 15:10

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 15:10
Darian, We live near Fraser Island and the stingers have been making their way down there, unfortunately. By me saying use common sense I guess I meant that you see some swimmers going out a bit far and close to the drift currents. Perhaps if one did get stung it would be best being close to the shore and help! The info centre here in Exmouth has a sign saying the stinger warning is low at the moment. And the guys on the Whale Shark boats have also told us that the chances are low. But as below reply by ExplorOz Team – Michelle, the inquest has confirmed it was most likely Irukandji. I am not sure if the papers have picked that up yet as I cannot find the results on the web. With that tragic event and the poor couple there are still some unanswered questions, not being curious because of some morbid fascination, but to assist in making common sense choices.
There is no doubt about it, the Ningaloo Reef is brilliant and brilliant that it is so close to the shore. And swimming with the Whale Sharks is one of those things that should be on everyone’s bucket list! Kevin
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Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:54

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:54
You have to be sensible – ask the locals when swimming above Carnarvon
Just got back from Cape Leveque – further North.
No problems swimming regarding sharks, crocs and stingers on the beaches at Kooljaman.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 13:14

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 13:14
The conclusions were drowning & likely the result of extreme pain & respiratory seizure from irijanji stingers that were in the area at the time. They are not around in winter but heed local reports & don't take chances.
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Follow Up By: bgreeni - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 15:09

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 15:09
Wear a stinger suit if you are really worried.
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew L (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 19:27

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 19:27
Agreed, thats what I had found out as well.
Surprising....but likely....unfortunately.
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Reply By: Member - Rod O (SA) - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 09:31

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 09:31
Yep cover up with a wetsuit incl neck, and you reduce the odds of a sting to SFA.
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Reply By: mountainman - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 13:16

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 13:16
nothing good in life isnt without risk..
even baby making.......... and the effect of...were having twins.. or triplets.. haa

hows that on the heart, poor old wallet, not looking too happy if that was the case..
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 16:19

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 16:19
Hi Darian,
I've just got back from my holiday with the family staying on Ningaloo station and made a point to check with the owners about the facts of this. I have it first-hand from Phil that it was NOT irukandji that was the cause of death here. Phil runs Ningaloo Station (north of Coral Bay) and this incident occurred on the neighboring station Warroora (South of Coral Bay). Phil has it first-hand from the woman involved in the rescue that conditions that day in the sea very so rough that they couldn't launch their 7.5m rescue craft. Phil's immediate response to my question as to what was the cause of death as "misadventure". Phil is the Coastwatch operator for the area too and is heard daily communicating with the scores of fishermen using their repeater station and all campers have to log in and out with him at the homestead so he is the oracle in my opinion.

I notice that the internet is still full of the irukandji theory but I am confident what I heard was more plausible.

I can also confirm that we spent two weeks at Ningaloo this trip during the WA July school holidays and we and the kids (and other families camped all over the place) all enjoyed swimming, snorkelling, boating, fishing, kayaking and waterskiing without incident.

Hope this helps and I'm sorry for any misinformation I've given previously.
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Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 18:05

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 18:05
Thanks for that update Michelle - informed and experienced local knowledge is always hard to top - I hope this post has been informative for others too, because I'm home in Adelaide ! (illness forced a turn around). All fine now, but as a result we've decided on a shorter outback trip this winter and then hope to head northwest again next year.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 20:23

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013 at 20:23
sorry to hear about that Darian. Hope the getaway helps, and take care.
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