Caution urged after John Rashidi tragically drowns in South West

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Water Police start to establish a search area on Tuesday morning following Monday’s accident.
Camera IconWater Police start to establish a search area on Tuesday morning following Monday’s accident. Credit: Stuart McGuckin

The body of a 22-year-old Mirrabooka man that drowned at Stockton Lake in Collie on Monday was recovered by police divers yesterday after more than a day of searching.

John Rashidi had been enjoying the lake with a group of family and friends in waist-deep water just after 5pm when an inflatable device they were using was blown into deeper water.

As he tried to retrieve it, the man came into difficulty before disappearing below the surface 25m from the shore.

After hearing calls for help, three young women aged 16 to 19 swam to the area where the man was last seen but were unsuccessful in their attempts to rescue him.

Collie police Sen. Sgt Heath Soutar said their efforts were brave.

“They were three strangers to the group that was using the lake,” he said.

“They had been using a jetski on the other side of the lake, had just brought that back in when they responded to the calls for help.”

A man with diving experience also attempted to help in the rescue but could not reach the depth of the man which was thought to be more than 15m. A fourth woman also made rescue attempts.

Police divers arrived just after 9am on Tuesday to set up a search in order to retrieve the man’s body.

They performed a circular search around a buoy located where the man was last seen but did not find the body until shortly after reassessing their search area yesterday.

The body was retrieved from an area 30m off shore at a depth of about 15m.

The death is the 53rd reported drowning in Australia this summer, an increase of more than 40 per cent compared to the same time last summer.

Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said it was always tragic when someone lost their life on the water.

“In light of this week’s incident, I want to remind everyone to take all possible precautions and care when out in the water this summer.

“Always remember the additional hazards, such as logs and rocks when swimming in rivers and streams, remember to look out for each other and not to swim beyond your ability.”

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