A man has drowned while rescuing his daughter after their kayak overturned near Bathurst. Photo: Paul JurakA 36-year-old Bathurst man has drowned while saving his five-year-old daughter.
The pair were kayaking at Chifley Dam near Bathurst on Saturday night when their vessel overturned and they fell into the water. While the man managed to save his daughter, he failed to resurface.
Inspector Rhys Dive, who attended the search, said the man was at the dam with his family and friends when the “horrible” accident occurred.
“It upturned and they both ended up in the water and he managed to lift his child onto the boat,” Inspector Dive said. “The first thing he did was save his little girl.”
Emergency services personnel were called about 7.15pm.
“There were already people searching on kayaks and fishing boats and swimming when we arrived,” he said.
Police and SES volunteers began a search of the water and the man’s body was discovered just before 9pm.
Police confirmed the man and his daughter were not wearing life jackets.
The father of three was a dedicated community member who regularly volunteered with the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church’s Rapid Relief Team, Inspector Dive said.
“We know him, that church group is part of the group that come and feed us at emergencies,” he said.
A spokesman for the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, John Wells, said the deceased man had been a member of the church’s rapid relief team for a number of years. The team is made up of church members who volunteer to provide catering to emergency service personnel.
Inspector Andrew Spliet from the Chifley Local Area Command said the man and his daughter were paddling in water that was 3.5-to-four metres deep when the kayak flipped.
Despite the flat water, and innocuous nature of kayaking, Inspector Spliet said people should still be aware of the risks in deep water, especially if they are not strong swimmers, or they are with children.
“If you’re going into the waterways, especially if you have children, you need to ensure you have lifejackets with you.
The cause of the man’s death has not yet been determined. Police will prepare a brief for the coroner.