Coral Bay Tragedy

We have been given a very harsh reminder over the last couple of days, that things can go wrong when travelling in remote areas.  A reminder that we need to be careful and extra vigilant while travelling.  A reminder that there is a serious side, and some risk to our adventure that we must always keep in the back of our minds while we explore some of the ‘not so travelled’ parts of our country.

Those of you in Australia have probably heard the sad news about the travelling family at Ningaloo Reef, this is an article from ‘The Australian’ online;

Police name couple in Coral Bay tragedy

Canberra woman Kathreen Ricketson, who drowned while snorkelling

The mother who drowned while snorkelling at WA’s Ningaloo Reef has been named as Kathreen Ricketson. Source: AAP

THE mother who drowned while snorkelling at Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef has been named as Canberra woman Kathreen Ricketson, as the search for her partner Rob Shugg continues.

The body of Ms Ricketson, 41, washed up at Elle’s Beach south of Coral Bay on Wednesday afternoon as her two children, a 13-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy, watched.

Mr Shugg, 48, is still missing despite a massive air, sea and land search on Thursday.

WA police said the couple and their two children were on their dream trip at the beach with another family they had befriended on their travels.

The couple’s son raised the alarm after realising his parents were in trouble when he went into the water to swim with them and saw them face down.

The other family activated an emergency beacon just after 4pm (WST), south of the coastal hamlet near Ningaloo Reef, which alerted authorities.

Police said there were failed attempts to resuscitate Ms Ricketson, and Mr Shugg disappeared before he could be recovered.

“It must have been horrific. It must be any child’s worst nightmare,” Inspector Dominic Wood said.

There were no evident injuries on the woman’s body, police said, seemingly ruling out a shark attack.

Family members from Tasmania flew to WA as the search continued.

Expert police divers travelled from Perth to help the land and sea search for the missing man, assisted by the Department of Environment, State Emergency Service (SES), Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS) and Coral Bay Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue Group.

Senior Constable Barney Hutchison, from WA Water Police, said hopes were dimming as time passed.

“The missing man has been in the water a long time and hopes of finding him fade with each passing hour,” he told ABC radio.

“We have been in contact with the family and they’re making their way over to WA from Tasmania.

“But as I said, we are really hoping to get a favourable outcome if we can.”

Ms Ricketson’s website said she and her husband were planning to write a book about their travels around the country.

“The book is not just any old travel book. It will be part on the road memoir, part family camping adventure how-to, but mostly it will be a whole bunch of fun projects that can be done in a day or a weekend by those who want to get away from it all and reconnect with their families,” Ms Ricketson wrote.

On a blog, Ms Ricketson described the trip to Ningaloo as a “dream come true”.

“We are bush camping at a station on Ningaloo reef, Western Australia. A dream come true – is that totally corn ball?” she wrote.

My heart goes out to this family.  A fund has been set up to help support their children, you can find the details here

I really don’t know what to say except to send a big virtual ‘hug’ and condolences from the Fealy Family to all of those who knew and loved this family.

Stay safe out there to all of those currently travelling!


Categories: Camping | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Coral Bay Tragedy

  1. It’s heart wrenching.

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