The family of a “loving, caring” 15-year-old who died at a river waterhole have called for more government drowning prevention measures.
The family of a “loving, caring” 15-year-old who died at a river waterhole have called for more government drowning prevention measures.

‘We will never forget him’: Parents mourn school captain son

The heartbroken family of a "visionary" 15-year-old school captain who drowned at a waterhole last week have urged the government to do more to prevent other lives being lost as the nation's drowning death toll climbs to 61.

Mount Carmel Catholic College Year 9 student Riing Doar was swimming with friends at Keith Longhurst Reserve at Kentlyn in southwest Sydney last Wednesday afternoon when he disappeared underwater.

Riing Doar, who died in the George’s River at Kentlyn, near Campbelltown, on January 20.
Riing Doar, who died in the George’s River at Kentlyn, near Campbelltown, on January 20.

The teenager's body was discovered hours later by police divers. Local residents described the waterhole as "notorious," saying there had been several accidents there over the past few years.

The tragedy is one of more than 17 drownings to occur in coastal and inland waterways in NSW since January 1, a figure that authorities fear could continue to grow.

Already, across Australia, there have been 61 drownings this season compared with 45 the previous summer.

This past week alone has seen a number of tragedies including the discovery of a 41-year-old man's body in North Narrabeen waters on Monday and the death of a 16-year-old boy in the Hawkesbury River. A search is also continuing for a snorkeller missing in Batemans Bay.

CRY FOR HELP

As the state's death toll rises, Riing's parents have launched a desperate plea for the state government to fund councils to introduce warning signs and lifeguard patrols in popular waterways like rivers and waterholes where there have been accidents or deaths.

The young man's 33-year-old mother, Aboil Alor, said the state's death toll would continue to climb if more isn't done.

"They need to do something … so it doesn't happen to any other people, which is why we are speaking out," she said.

"If children are going to dangerous waterholes, there should be lifesavers there available at any time."

Riing’s parents Aboil Alor and Achoul Doar have called on the government to do more to prevent similar accidents. Picture: Tim Hunter
Riing’s parents Aboil Alor and Achoul Doar have called on the government to do more to prevent similar accidents. Picture: Tim Hunter

Riing's 32-year-old father, Achuoul Doar, told The Daily Telegraph he was making it his life's mission to prevent more lives being lost.

"If we don't act we will lose more people and that will be a tragedy for the nation. The government needs to do something as soon as possible to stop other people dying like my son," he said. "I will do whatever it takes."

Mr Doar said his son touched the hearts of everyone he met and was a well-known figure in the South Sudanese community since moving to Sydney as a refugee in 2010.

"Riing was a visionary. He was a loving, caring person, who loved school and his brothers and sisters," he said.

"He thought one day he would be a scientist. He was doing a lot of science subjects like physics. He was very smart. In all of his subjects he got an A or B … We were very proud of him. We will never forget him. He may have passed, but he was our first son so he will remain in our hearts forever."

POLICING NEEDED

Royal Life Saving CEO Justin Scarr said popular inland waterways like rivers and waterholes where there have been accidents or deaths in the past should be monitored with "active policing" because councils do not always have the resources for lifeguards.

"There should be active policing including more regular surveillance of those locations and policing of rules such as no diving."

He said councils should conduct a "comprehensive risk analysis" of known dangerous "ad hoc" swimming locations and investigate the water safety measures available to them, including lifeguards.

"They should also look at investigating the feasibility of emergency beacons, lifeguards, signage and partnerships on swimming."

Mr Scarr said Royal Life Saving was looking at working with councils to establish emergency beacons with surveillance cameras and emergency equipment in known inland swimming locations.

Riing will be farewelled at a private ceremony at his school on Saturday.

A GoFundMe page has been set-up to help his family cover costs.

Originally published as 'We will never forget him': Parents mourn school captain son



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