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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Parents drown at Ningaloo Reef

It's a tragic story.  Two children 10 and 13, were left alone yesterday, as the body of their mother was washed up on the beach and their father is still missing.  They left the children to snorkel in the area of Coral Bay near the iconic Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

A man set off an emergency beacon after the body was found around 4pm yesterday and there is still no sign of her partner.  Police from the nearest big town, Exmouth, headed to the area yesterday.


The beautiful coral reef at Ningaloo Marine Park is a special place and more and more tourists come to Exmouth and Yardie Creek every year. They come to this isolated spot in north west Australia to swim with the whale sharks, Manta rays, turtles and other sea creatures.

Yardie Creek

The reef is in the hot, dry tropics and summer temperatures can reach more than 47C and that's why accommodation in Exmouth and Yardie Creek is booked out in the cooler months of winter.

Coral spawning is an important event that sets off a chain reaction.  It happens when the coral releases eggs and sperm into the ocean and it's said to be a wonderful sight for snorkelers and divers to experience. This happens around 10 to 12 days after the full moon in March and April.  After the spawning, the whale sharks arrive in April and stay until early July and the Manta rays arrive in May and leave in mid November.

Now this beautiful place has been marred by a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the two children who are left alone to cope.  A search for the father resumed at first light today.

Navy communication station, Exmouth

Edit: The mother of two has been named as Canberra woman Kathreen Ricketson.  The search for her partner Rob Shugg continues.