Tributes pour for two fathers who drowned while trying to rescue their children from dangerous surfing on a remote beach on the Sunshine Coast.
Denny Jade Caballa and Richard Catbagan, both 37 years old, were on a family road trip with their families when they set up a camp near Teewah Beach, north of Noosa, where the tragedy struck.
Their children were swept out to sea by a crooked tide, causing their friends to begin a rescue operation, but they drowned in spite of a few people rushing to their assistance.
A nine-year-old boy, one of Mr. Caballa’s two sons, had flown to Sunshine Coast University Hospital in a stable condition. Since then he has been discharged.
The third man, who was also in the water, was being treated at the scene.
Two of the kids were able to get out of the water on their own.
Kevin Beramo was sitting in the car with other family members when Cherry Apple, the wife of Mr. Caballa, told them what had happened.
“When we found out, it was like heaven and earth came down on us,” he said.
“You’re a hero. Until we meet again cousin Jade … this is so sudden.”
Several spectators, including out-of-duty nurses, doctors and surf lifesavers, were desperately trying to revive the victims, but they died tragically on the scene.
Family and friends have since paid tribute to the beloved fathers who died while performing a very selfless act” on Facebook.
“You will be missed forever and always. The beautiful moments you shared with us will always speak of a great person that you were. Rest in peace up in the heaven my friend,” one person wrote about Mr Caballa.
Another thanked Mr. Catbagan for his friendship and good memories.
Earlier, the police said that three of their men’s children were wading in the shallows when they were struck by a “rogue wave.”
“As a result of that a number of children were dragged into the deeper water and a couple of the parents have gone in to rescue them,’’ a police spokesman said.
Surf Life Saving Queensland said that the tragedy followed a series of serious accidents on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday before a warning to swim only between red and yellow flags on patrol beaches.
The incident will be submitted to the state coroner.