Up coming JCU student Solomon Boland died in a drowning incident at Clifton Beach on Saturday. Picture: Facebook
Up coming JCU student Solomon Boland died in a drowning incident at Clifton Beach on Saturday. Picture: Facebook

Young Rocky student drowns in Cairns tragedy

A young student from Rockhampton arriving in Cairns ahead of the 2021 university kick off was enjoying a day at the beach on Saturday when tragedy struck.

Civilian first responder Adam Scott was in the area fishing when he saw a lifeguard going to the rescue of Solomon Boland, who attended Glenmore State High School, about 100m north of the Clifton Beach stinger net.

"We went past for a fish down at Deadmans Gully and the lifeguard was just getting get him out and she was struggling," he said.

"So I went into help and my wife started doing CPR.

"When we pulled him out of the water he was blue, he had been there for five minutes when we saw him."

Mr Scott said the student was with friends who were not aware the 22-year-old was in trouble.

"They didn't know he was missing until the ambo came," he said.

"He has gone for a dip outside the nets and it's clearly deeper there and he lost his footing and panicked.

"He was full of saltwater, no response, no vitals when he came out of the water."

Mr Scott said bystanders on the beach sprang into action and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

"The people that joined in and helped us were amazing but they could not do nothing for him," he said.

Surf Life Saving's Jay March said it was quite common for by standers to lend a hand if a lifeguard was on their own.

"She offered to start compressions and that's what you do," he said.

"It was a good effort by everyone and someone came and took the flags down while the lifeguard was busy."

A James Cook University spokesman said the school would provide support to staff and students impacted by the student's death.

"(We are) is saddened by the death of one of (our) students," he said.

"Our deepest sympathies go to the student's family and friends at this time."

Queensland Police said the death was non suspicious and a report was being prepared for the coroner.


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