Gold Coast lifesaver Jerry Dennis died after coming off his training board.
Gold Coast lifesaver Jerry Dennis died after coming off his training board.

Clubbies reeling over the death of surf lifesaving junior

THE Gold Coast lifesaving community is in mourning after the bizarre death of a 17-year-old junior who fell off his paddle board while training in a canal.

Jerry Dennis, 17, was training with his Northcliffe club mates at Mermaid Waters when he got into trouble at Mermaid Waters about 4pm on Thursday.

Resident Linda Buck told the ABC the teenager came off a paddle board and disappeared below the surface.

"Everyone just started yelling and screaming people jumping in the water, starting to duck dive, and it was just absolute pandemonium - someone had gone off their board into the canal and hadn't surfaced," she said.

It took over an hour to find him and despite the best efforts of trained lifesavers and ambulance officers, the teenager could not be revived.

Gold Coast lifesaver Jerry Dennis riding some waves at Kirra. Source: YouTube
Gold Coast lifesaver Jerry Dennis riding some waves at Kirra. Source: YouTube

The Sunshine Coast-based president of Surf Life Saving Queensland, Ralph Devlin, says he cannot confirm reports the teenager had chest pains before it happened.

"Whether he felt unwell - we just don't quite know yet," he said.

"This lad was an outstanding swimmer and to fall off a craft in flat water in a canal under controlled circumstances is a very strange event and absolutely unique in our history.''

"Jerry was a talented young, yet accomplish athlete who had a bright future in surf lifesaving ahead of him.''

Distraught members of the Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club are being offered counselling.



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