Relationship milestone turned to tragedy


IT IS supposed to a joyful relationship milestone - meeting your partner's parents for the first time.

But what could have been the start of something special turned into tragedy when Jess Davie lost her new boyfriend and his father in a tragic boating accident in Central Queensland.

Ms Davie was in a vessel at Wuruma Dam with partner Adrian Hope, 30, his father Gary, 70, and Adrian's mother Valerie, 69.

The group was thrown from the boat after it overturned from the force of its own wake just before 5pm on Saturday.

A police source said Ms Davie, tragically, was meeting her boyfriend's parents for the first time and Adrian died trying to save his father.

It is understood Adrian initially carried his mother on his back in the water, but when he realised his father was floating unconscious, he pushed her off in the direction of the shore as he went back to rescue Gary.

Meanwhile, Ms Davie swam unassisted to the water's edge, where her cries for help were heard by campers near the Wuruma Dam Fish Restocking Association shed.

Those good Samaritans launched their own vessel, recovering Valerie from the water.

Police, the State Emergency Service and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue were all tasked to the scene, where they searched until about midnight for Adrian and Gary.

The search resumed at 6am on Saturday morning with additional SES water crews.

North Burnett SES Local Controller Brian Lowe said police divers arrived about noon and SES crews were then asked to leave the scene, a "normal procedure".

He said the family lived "within a kilometre" of the dam and were "well-known locally".

Adrian Hope, 30, drowned while trying to save his father after they were thrown from a boat on Wuruma Dam near Eidsvold.
Adrian Hope, 30, drowned while trying to save his father after they were thrown from a boat on Wuruma Dam near Eidsvold.

Mr Lowe said the community would band together to support the family in the wake of the tragedy.

It is believed Adrian was living in Proserpine with Ms Davie, and formerly worked in Monto.

Ms Davie is listed as a nursing assistant at Proserpine Nursing Home on her Facebook page.

North Burnett Councillor Paul Lobegeier said the family had a long association with the area.

"One minute they're having fun and the next a tragedy - a very sad state of affairs," he said

"Our local community is saying 'how can this happen'."

The tragic event has traumatised the Wuruma Dam community, North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers said.

"The issue with the rest of the community is, the 50 volunteers who went with the emergency services, a lot of them did know the family," Cr Chambers said.

"So they're going through exactly what you would think."