Indian student Abin Philip dies in swimming tragedy in Qld

Abin Philip was swimming at Garderns Falls in Sunshine Coast when the incident occurred

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In a tragic drowning event at Sunshine Coast, Queensland, a young Indian man named Abin Philip has lost his life.

The 24-year-old Indian student Abin Philip was swimming at Gardners Falls yesterday, 29 Nov. He jumped into the water with a rope spring and then failed to surface, as his friends rushed to look for him.

His body was discovered by rescuers a few hours later.

A student at Sunshine Coast since 2019, Abin was close to the completion of his studies. His family hails from Ernakulam in Kerala.

A GoFundMe campaign organised by his friends has already raised $98,000 of a $100,000 goal.  It provides details of Abin “as an outstanding soccer player, a passionate photographer … and an active member of the Kerala Community on the Coast, representing International Students at the Executive Committee of the Sunshine Coast Kerala Association (SCKA).”

Indian Student Abin Philip
Indian student Abin Philip Source: Go Fund Me

Funds raised will go towards repatriation, funeral expenses, and family support, including paying off of student debt.

Sebastian Thomas of the Sunshine Coast Kerala Association told Indian Link, “We’ve been amazed at the compassion showed by the community. It’ really the least we can do, but it also shows how well loved Abin was. His smile was a such a distinctive feature of his personality – I haven’t seen a single photo of him in which he isn’t smiling.”

Abin was a confident swimmer who loved the outdoors, Sebastian revealed, and on the day of the accident, his tragic jump was not his first, as he had already spent some hours at Gardners Falls.

Nonetheless, at the start of summer, a refresher on water safety is due for those in multicultural communities, who are believed to be at greater risk of drowning due to cultural differences in water safety knowledge and swimming ability.

The National Drowning Report for 2022, reporting on fatal incidents between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022, said 339 people lost their lives to water, and 686 people experienced a near fatal drowning incident. This is much higher than the reported national average of 288 people – with a fourth if this number being overseas-born persons. Korea, Taiwan, India rank high among migrant populations included in this statistic.

The Indian student drowning tragedy serves as another harsh reminder that water safety is a concern among multicultural communities here in Australia. They are believed to be at greater risk of drowning due to cultural differences in water safety knowledge and swimming ability.

As temperatures rise and we head out to beaches and rivers, individuals are urged to follow water safety guidelines.

Water safety for adults

  • Never swim alone – it is important to always swim with another person
  • Check for currents or rips
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags at the beach
  • Check the conditions. Ask someone who is familiar with the area
  • Follow the advice of lifeguards or lifesavers and ask them for help if you’re unsure
  • Look for and read the water safety signs. Ask someone who speaks English to help you understand instructions
  • Take care of slippery or uneven surfaces around or in the water
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol around water
  • Be aware of your medical conditions and their impact around water
  • If you are caught in a rip or current, float on your back and travel downstream
  • If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm. Signal for help, then float and wait for assistance. Float with a current or undertow.
  • Wear a lifejacket whenever boating, rock fishing, or using a watercraft

Water safety for children

  • Children should never be left alone when near a water body.
  • Actively supervise children around water
  • Restrict access
  • Teach water awareness
  • Learn how to resuscitate

Read More: As summer begins, be careful when going out for a swim

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