WATCH: Lifeguard says teen was in 'tricky conditions'


  • Bundaberg paramedic student has drowned in tragic circumstances
  • The teen is thought to have been snorkelling with friends and her twin sister
  • Paramedics performed CPR but she was pronounced dead

UPDATE 5.30pm:

SURF Lifesaving Queensland is urging swimmers to make sure they're with a buddy at all times after Thursday's tragic accident.

Surf Lifesaving Queensland regional operations manager Craig Holden said it was likely Workmans Beach would have had rips, small waves and a current.

The Bundaberg man said they were "tricky conditions" for snorkellers.

"I wouldn't say the conditions were dangerous, but it would have been tricky for snorkellers," Mr Holden said.

"Obviously if people are swimming we always want them to swim between the flags, but if you're snorkelling then you're going to go to these other locations where there are rocks or a headland," he said.

"It's important if you're going to do that, you do have a buddy and someone watching to make sure everything is okay."

One Agnes Water lifeguard was tasked to Thursday's rescue.

UPDATE 4.15pm: 

GLADSTONE police have revealed the heartbreaking circumstances which led to the drowning of a young girl at Agnes Water yesterday.

Detective Sergeant Chris Lindsay said Ashleigh Ford, aged 18, was "unable to get out" of the water when she and a group of teen swimmers became "stressed" after being caught in a rip.

"As a result of the young teenagers going into the water they became stressed in the water and unable to get out."

"One of the males was able to get out, however, the female was unable to get out," he said.

He said Workmans Beach was too remote for paramedics to get to the swimmers before the tragedy unfolded, but "they were assisted by two local fisherman who were nearby.

"The ambulance was called and due to the secluded area it took a while for the ambulance officers to get to them.

"They were assisted by two local fisherman who were nearby.

UPDATE 11.32am: 

A VIVACIOUS, effervescent young woman who always had a smile on her face is how Shalom College principal Dan McMahon has described Ashleigh Ford.

The 18-year-old former student drowned at Agnes Water on Thursday afternoon.

Mr McMahon said he was devastated to hear about Miss Ford's death, saying it was an unmitigated tragedy.

"Ashleigh was a vibrant, happy kid and I don't remember seeing her without a smile on her face," he said.

"She was a very popular student, heavily involved in sport, particularly netball.

"She was a vivacious young woman - full of life."

Bundaberg paramedic student Ashleigh Ford drowned while snorkelling.
Bundaberg paramedic student Ashleigh Ford drowned while snorkelling. Contributed

Miss Ford was in her first year studying to be a paramedic at QCUniversity's Bundaberg campus and Mr McMahon said the last time he spoke to Miss Ford she had worked out what she wanted to do in life and was going for it.

Mr McMahon said Miss Ford was a twin and the sisters were very close.

"You very rarely saw one without the other," he said.

"Whenever you saw them around town they were keen to have a chat.

"Their effervescence shone through."

UPDATE 10.21am Friday

A Bundaberg paramedic student from CQUniversity has drowned in tragic circumstances at Agnes Water.

It is believed 18-year-old Ashleigh Ford had been at Workmans Beach with a small group of people, including her twin sister, when she was discovered face down in the water about 3.30pm Thursday.

Paramedics were called to the remote and difficult to access stretch of beach and performed CPR for 20 minutes but they were unable to revive her.

The location off Springs Rd is unpatrolled.

Ms Ford was in her first year studying Paramedic Science at CQUniversity and a rural firefighter volunteer with Calavos. The former Shalom College student was also heavily involved with the Bundaberg Netball Association.

Last year Ms Ford shared her joy at enrolling to study paramedic science on Facebook, thrilled she could stay in Bundaberg and study so she could stay close to her family.

LISTEN | Surf Life Saving QLD's Craig Holden explains:

UPDATE 7am Friday:

LIFE guards were alerted to the tragedy of a young girl's drowning after ambulance received the call out. 

It was too late for an 18-year-old girl who drowned while snorkelling. 

It's understood ambulance received the call out around 3.40pm yesterday and life guards received the alert from ambulance a short time after that. 

It remains unknown who brought the young girl out the water, but Surf Lifesaving Queensland regional operations manager Craig Holden earlier said the young girl was on the beach when life guards arrived. 

It's understood the young girl was found floating face down and unconscious. 


UPDATE 7.00pm: 

IT is believed the woman who drowned off Workmans Beach this afternoon was snorkelling.

Surf Lifesaving Queensland regional operations manager Craig Holden said one of the Agnes Water life guards assisted in the rescue.

"It appears she spent a length of time in the water where she was not breathing before someone noticed something was wrong," Mr Holden said.

He said it would have taken just minutes for the life guard to arrive at Workmans Beach, which is near the Agnes Water headland off the main beach.

Update 5.50pm:

Wide Bay Lifesaving Queensland coordinator Julie Davis received a call at 4.10pm this afternoon with reports that a young woman found lying face down in the water at Workmans Beach.

The young girl was found face down in the water at Workman's Beach (pictured).
The young girl was found face down in the water at Workman's Beach (pictured).

Ms Davis sent two Agnes Water lifeguards to assist in the rescue using their jetskis to search the area.

A rescue helicopter was also involved.


More to come. 


IN TRAGIC circumstances a girl in her late teens has died after being swept off the rocks at 1770.

Queensland Ambulance responded to the incident at 3.40pm and are still on the scene.

The 18-year old girl was confirmed dead a short time ago.

19-year-old found drowned at 1770.
19-year-old found drowned at 1770.

A QAS spokesperson said the girl was swept off the rocks and found face down in the water and unconscious.

The spokesperson said she had been in the water for more than 20 minutes.

Ambulance officers performed CPR in a frantic effort to revive this young girl.

Our thoughts go out to the family.

More to come. 

Topics:  ambulance editors picks gladstone region qas

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