Acting Inspector Brett Jenkin was frustrated that the visiting tourists had ignored warnings approaching Devil’s Pool.
Acting Inspector Brett Jenkin was frustrated that the visiting tourists had ignored warnings approaching Devil’s Pool.

Police frustration at missing watering hole swimmer

A MISSING Brisbane man who vanished while swimming at the Babinda Boulders allegedly ignored warning signs before plunging into the notorious Devil's Pool.

The 37-year-old, who is understood to have arrived in the Far North on Monday, disappeared on Monday afternoon.

He was camping at the Boulders with a 32-year-old close friend.

Emergency services searching for a man that went missing at Babinda Boulders on Monday evening. Acting Inspector Brett Jenkins. Picture: Stewart McLean
Emergency services searching for a man that went missing at Babinda Boulders on Monday evening. Acting Inspector Brett Jenkins. Picture: Stewart McLean

 

Acting Inspector Brett Jenkin was frustrated that the visiting tourists had ignored warnings approaching Devil's Pool.

"It is a restricted area, it is well fenced and it is restricted for a reason, to warn people not to go into that area and for good reason," Acting Insp Jenkin said.

"It is well known for being a dangerous area; there have been a lot of resources put into fencing that area off to discourage people from entering the water.

"There are signs that people need to walk past and there is an infringement that can be issued. They are there to protect people."

Devils Pool down from the boulders in Babinda. Picture: Francis Brendan
Devils Pool down from the boulders in Babinda. Picture: Francis Brendan

Police divers have joined Swiftwater Rescue crews and SES volunteers who have been drawn from Innisfail, Gordonvale, Babinda and Cairns.

The Rescue 510 helicopter has also been searching the area and the SES will employ drones to scan from above.

"The water is quite low this time of the year but still very, very dangerous," Acting Insp Jenkin said.

"The currents and undercurrents and deep hollows look very deceiving and are very dangerous. The rocks are very slippery."

He said emergency services would "exhaust every scenario" during the search.

"It's a case of doing everything we can do," Acting Insp Jenkin said.

Locals, including traditional owners, were providing "really crucial information" to emergency services about where the missing swimmer may have ended up, he said.

Inspector Shane Jarvis said 10 Swiftwater technicians and other specialists were on the scene.

"They face conditions that are very dangerous; to enter that water it needs to be very well risk assessed," Insp Jarvis said.

Emergency services searching for a man that went missing at Babinda Boulders on Monday evening. Queensland Fire and Rescue Inspector Shane Jarvis. Picture: Stewart McLean
Emergency services searching for a man that went missing at Babinda Boulders on Monday evening. Queensland Fire and Rescue Inspector Shane Jarvis. Picture: Stewart McLean

"We don't just commit people for no reason.

"There are large caves and those caves are very deep."

Babinda State Hotel owner Harry Anning said locals were "too smart" to swim near the Devil's Pool.

"I don't think there have been any (Babinda) locals killed there," Mr Anning said.

"There are plenty of warning signs, people need to listen to them.

"We try to warn them but still they do it. It's a pity."

In April, White Rock's Madison Tam, 18, was dragged into the "chute" area of the pools and did not resurface.

Before Ms Tam drowned it had been 12 years since a drowning death at the site, but prior to that 17 people had lost their lives since the 1950s.

The Devil's Pool has long been considered off limits by traditional owners.

Yidinji elder Annie Wonga said the Boulders was "a very spiritual place".

"Swimming in certain spots is not to be," Ms Wonga said.

"I would like visitors to take care and stay safe on my Yidinji country.

"My siblings and I took heed from the old people and their story warning us to never swim in what they described as no-good water."

Originally published as Police frustration at missing watering hole swimmer



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