Brisbane tour operator facing criminal charges over deaths

A Brisbane-based tour operator will face criminal charges over the deaths of two students who drowned on Fraser Island in 2019.

The pair were found dead beside Lake McKenzie on March 30 having become separated from their group the day before.

They had been participants in the Australian Overseas Exchange Program and the visit to Fraser Island was for an eco-tour. They had arrived in Brisbane on March 25 and had travelled to Fraser Island three days later.

Tourists Anthony Stave and Andrew Foreman at Lake McKenzie after the bodies of two boys were found.
Tourists Anthony Stave and Andrew Foreman at Lake McKenzie after the bodies of two boys were found.

The pair had become separated from their tour group on March 29 and failed to turn up for a head count.

They were staying at Kingfisher Resort and had enjoyed a day of sightseeing and four-wheel-driving when a stop at the picturesque lake turned into tragedy.

A land, air and water search was conducted through the night.

Police, including divers and dog squad officers, joined a helicopter and volunteer search that led to the boys being discovered at 8.20am on Saturday, March 30.

Huckleberry Australia, a school study tour operator, faces one charge for failing to comply with its health and safety duty following the deaths of the boys who were on a school exchange trip from Japan.

The company director Hiroyuki Hidaka has been charged with exposing the students to a risk of death or serious injury and failing to comply with his health and safety duty as an officer of Huckleberry Australia Pty Ltd.

Shinri Minatoya, a teacher from their school, Kanagawa University High School, has been charged with failing his health and safety duty by exposing the students to the risk of serious injury and death.

Both matters are due for mention in Brisbane Magistrates Court in February.

Originally published as Brisbane tour operator facing criminal charges over deaths


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