The parents of a 14-year-old surf lifesaving competitor who drowned off a Gold Coast beach in northeastern Australia said Friday no one was to blame for his death.
Matt Barclay, from Maroochydore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, disappeared Wednesday in rough seas while competing in a board race at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in Kurrawa.
A full-scale search was launched and his body was found offshore just before 9:30am local time Thursday.
Steven and Donna Barclay said they were distressed at criticism of lifesaving officials following their son’s death.
They told The Courier-Mail, “We do not believe anyone is to blame for what happened and we totally support the officials and organisers of the event. Anytime someone goes into the ocean there is an element of risk. However, Matt was a young champion lifesaver and we had no concerns for his safety or the precautions in place at this event.”
“Surf lifesaving is a big part of our lives and it was Matt’s passion. The bigger the surf the more he loved it. Words cannot possibly express how we feel at this time. There is nothing that can be said to change what has happened or take away our pain,” the statement added.
Conditions were rough at Kurrawa throughout Wednesday, with a moderate wind whipping up messy three- to five-foot (0.9- to 1.5-meter) waves.
The competition committee was reviewing conditions regularly after the surf boat event was suspended and relocated to a calmer spot earlier in the day because of a spate of injuries and mishaps, but Surf Life Saving Australia chief executive Brett Williamson said conditions were fine for racing.
The tragedy comes after Sydney lifesaver Saxon Bird, 19, drowned in wild seas during the 2010 Australian championships, also at Kurrawa, on Australia’s eastern coast.
The lawyer who represented Bird’s family at the inquest into his death has now called for a royal commission into the running of the championships, The Courier-Mail reported.
- Should SATS be scrapped? Suffolk parents have their say
- New Epstein accuser says he raped her when she was 15
- Age of Anxiety: Why are parents beating themselves up
- Outrage over teen rapist's home detention
- Parental leave: How rich countries compare
- Parents blast airline KLM over breastfeeding on flights policy
- Teens spend too much time looking at screens, say teens
- A stressed parent's guide to surviving the Leaving Cert
- Sex mad: Has the latest teen drama gone too far?
- Euphoria: has the latest controversial teen drama gone too far?