High-profile olympian drowns at Qld beach

High-profile Australian Olympian Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin has drowned on the Gold Coast.

The two-time world snowboard champion, aged 32, was spear fishing off 19th Ave at Palm Beach when the tragedy happened this morning.

He is believed to have suffered a shallow water blackout just after 10.30am.

Alex Chumpy Pullin is believed to have drowned on the Gold Coast today.
Alex Chumpy Pullin is believed to have drowned on the Gold Coast today.

It is understood an on-duty lifeguard was on the scene and that surfers were involved in carrying him from Palm Beach reef.

Another spear fisherman spotted Pullin unresponsive on the ocean floor and alerted a surfer.

The surfer paddled to shore and raised the alarm with lifeguards on a jet ski who brought him to the beach where they and paramedics performed CPR on him for about 45 minutes.

Pullin was an experienced free diver who was spear fishing alone.

Two divers at the scene of the drowning at Palm Beach. Picture: Greg Stolz
Two divers at the scene of the drowning at Palm Beach. Picture: Greg Stolz

"Lifeguards provided CPR to the man until the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) arrived and took over," at City of Gold Coast spokeswoman said.

Off duty volunteer lifeguards who were on the beach also rushed to Pullin's aid.

"They assisted the Gold Coast City Council lifeguard service in performing CPR... until paramedics arrived," a Surf Lifesaving Queensland spokeswoman said.

"The volunteer lifesavers involved have been offered peer support counselling, and this support will continue for as long as needed."

"Our thoughts are with the victim's family and friends."

Alex Chumpy Pullin was spear fishing when he blacked out.
Alex Chumpy Pullin was spear fishing when he blacked out.

His family were on the beach at the time.

Pullin is a spear fishing and diving enthusiast and is also a keen musician and surfer.

Only two weeks ago, he posted an Instagram photo of himself spear fishing off the Gold Coast.

"Unreal day in the ocean, whales singing & breaching around us," he posted.

"Hanging with great people plus bringing plenty of fish for the week."

Pullin was the flag bearer for the Australian team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Pullin, 32, hailed from the town of Mansfield, in the foothills of Victoria's alps.

In 2011, he became the first Australian snowboard cross rider to capture a World Championship and the World Cup title in the one year.

His website biography says he learnt to ski with his family at the age of three.

His parents, who owned and ran a ski/snowboard shop in Mansfield, encouraged him to pursue snowboarding at the age of eight.

Soon after, Pullin became a familiar face around the alps and could frequently be sighted riding around his local resort of Mt Buller.

It's the second spear fishing tragedy in southeast Queensland in five days, after Sunshine Coast man Matthew Tratt was fatally mauled by a shark while spearing off Fraser Island on Saturday.

Emergency services are on the scene.

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