North Coast water safety concern

THE deaths of two tourists within walking distance of a patrolled swimming area has raised questions about the effectiveness of water safety campaigns.

The two Indian nationals, aged 24 and 25, got into difficulty at The Wreck at Belongil Beach in Byron Bay about 1pm on Sunday.

Around 10 minutes after the alarm was raised the men were located underwater, but despite resuscitation attempts they were pronounced dead on arrival at Byron Bay Hospital.

The incident has raised questions about whether water safety messages are reaching travellers to Australia.

The National Drowning Report reveals 19 international tourists drowned in Australia in 2010-2011.

Surf Lifesaving Far North Coast emergency services coordinator Jimmy Keough said the men drowned "within walking distance" of a supervised swimming area.

"They were approximately 250 to 300m west of the patrolling area," Mr Keough said.

Mr Keough said multilingual water safety messages should be "very accessible" for travellers.

"Unfortunately the people in these circumstances didn't do as advised and swim between the red and yellow flags," Mr Keough said.

It's not the first time travellers have got into trouble around The Wreck.

Gordon Harmon, 79, helped rescue four French holidaymakers at the same spot in December 1990.



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