Australia for stricter diving rules after 6 deaths in 5 days

Melbourne, Nov 21 (IANS) Australia has called for tougher guidelines after six deaths here in snorkelling and scuba diving incidents in five days, authorities said.

Australian Underwater Federation (AUF) President Graham Henderson said that diving standards in the country should be reviewed, Xinhua news reported.

Heading the government-recognized body for amateur underwater activities here, Henderson said that there were rising concern over the variation in dive course qualities.

The AUF official suggested that elderly divers should be checked for any medical condition before they were allowed into the water.

“The Australian standards need to be looked at and talked about more,” Henderson added.

He raised the fact that people were diving and snorkelling in large groups or clubs, which increased the risk of something going wrong.

The recent two deaths were in New South Wales and Victorian respectively, both were diving with friends.

On Saturday, a 49-year old man had died.

The remaining three deaths were all international tourists exploring the iconic Great Barrier Reef on November 16.

A 60-year-old British traveller had died while diving on the reef on Friday, while French tourists Jacques Goron, 76, and Danielle Franck, 74, both had heart attacks within minutes of each other while snorkelling.

Cardiologists said the French deaths might have been caused by Irukandji jellyfish stings. These fingernail size creatures are one of the most venomous in the world.