Jacob Lollback died tragically while diving at the Great Barrier Reef earlier this week.
Jacob Lollback died tragically while diving at the Great Barrier Reef earlier this week.

Family in shock over drowning

NEVILLE Lollback would give anything to be able to change places with his 20-year-old nephew Jacob Lollback, who drowned tragically in a diving accident on the Great Barrier Reef on Tuesday.

Still numb from the news of the death of the popular surf life saving star, Mr Lollback spoke of the many questions the family want answered and how much they would like to wind back the clock.

“I would just like to be able to change places with him,” he said, summing up the desperate sadness of the whole Lollback family.

“At 20 years of age it's so wrong,” said Mr Lollback.

“He had everything, the talent, the looks and yet he took it all in his stride.”

The Lollback clan has gathered at the family home in Oliver Street, Grafton, where they have been swamped with messages of condolence as they try to come to terms with the death of someone who died far too young.

“Because of his connections with Grafton, Yamba and the Gold Coast, there is a huge circle of people who have been in contact with us,” Mr Lollback said.

Father Eric, mum Kaylene and Jacob's brothers Andrew, Daniel, Mitchell and Joshua are coming to grips with losing their much-loved son and brother.

“It's hit Mitchell and Josh hard. They were down in Sydney with Kaylene at a CHS hockey tournament,” said Mr Lollback.

“We have a wonderful uncle they were staying with in Sydney who drove them back to Grafton when they heard the news.”

Close family friend and one of Jacob's surf lifesaving coaches Jim Dougherty feels the loss as keenly as the Lollback family.

“He was like an extra son to me,” Mr Dougherty said Thursday.

“He used to travel to events with us and would come around to our place to train with my sons.”

Mr Lollback said the family expected to hold a funeral for Jacob mid-next week after an autopsy, possibly Friday.

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