David Muir was at Airlie Beach Lagoon as the tragedy unfolded on Sunday afternoon.
David Muir was at Airlie Beach Lagoon as the tragedy unfolded on Sunday afternoon. Georgia Simpson

Lagoon tragedy: "I could see that he was fully submerged"

GOLD Coast tourist David Muir was cooling off at the Airlie Beach Lagoon on Sunday afternoon when tragedy struck - and two tourists lost their lives.

The 37-year-old holidaymaker told the Whitsunday Times of the scenes involving a 30-year-old father and his five-year-old son when they got into trouble in the water.

The two caught the eye of Mr Muir as he swam in the shallows, and only minutes later he looked back to where the father had been, only to see him pulled from the water.

"I could see that he was fully submerged, just below the surface and just as I saw him, one of the lifeguards grabbed him and dragged him out of the water over to the side," he said.

"When I looked at the victim I could see his eyes had rolled back into his head."

Mr Muir assisted lifeguards in performing CPR on the father for about 40 minutes.

He was assisted by another female passer-by, whose identity remains unknown to him.

"I wish I knew her name to thank her, she did an amazing job."

Another witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was swimming in the water when the events unfolded.

"I was swimming under the bridge with my son and we noticed the man being pulled out of the water," she said.

"I turned my son around so he couldn't see anything - it was so horrible."

Mr Muir said as paramedics were working on the child, the mother appeared, being confronted with the scene of her partner and son.

"The mother was just in shock, you could see it on her face," he said.

"She held it together. She just stood and watched them working on her son and then she got in the ambulance with the son.

"That's the last I saw of her."

The father and son were rushed to Proserpine Hospital, but could not be saved.

A report is being prepared for the coroner.

This trip was Mr Muir's second in as many months.

His previous visit coincided with the day Victorian youngster Hannah Papps was attacked by a shark at Cid Harbour.

However, both tragedies will not stop him coming back to the Whitsundays.

"This is my preferred holiday destination," he said.

"It's the most stunning place in the world.

"It's just a tragic, freak accident."


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