A backpacker died while working on a fruit farm near Ayr.
A backpacker died while working on a fruit farm near Ayr.

Backpacker dies from suspected heat stroke on farm

A BACKPACKER died on Wednesday morning from suspected heat stroke suffered while picking fruit.

Detective Inspector Leonie Steyger said the 27-year-old man from Belgium was picking watermelons on a farm near Ayr on Tuesday when he collapsed.

The man was taken to Ayr Hospital before being transported to Townsville Hospital about 5pm. He died in hospital at 4.50am yesterday.

"He was working on a watermelon farm when he collapsed," Insp Steyger said.

"An autopsy will need to take place but they suspect it was heat stroke."

She said the man's family had been contacted.

The temperature in Ayr on Tuesday reached a top of 30.5C.

Thousands of backpackers undertake farm work in North Queensland every year.

Pickers are advised to drink up to eight litres of water a day to remain hydrated, wear a hat, long-sleeve shirt and sunscreen.

Insp Steyger said everyone needed to be aware of the danger of North Queensland heat.

"We encourage people to really take care of themselves and their mates, stay hydrated and be sun smart," she said.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin expressed her sympathies.

"We're very saddened to hear of the passing of this young man and would like to express our deepest condolences to his family and friends," Cr McLaughlin said.



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