Grieving aunt troubled by fools in floodwater

The tragedy occurred 14 months ago but the pain is still raw for her aunty Sarah-Jane Bright still grieves for her two-year-old niece who drowned in a backyard pool.

It is heightened every time Ms Bright sees people acting irresponsibly in any water environment.

The mother-of-one contacted the Sunshine Coast Daily through our Facebook page following reports two teenage boys were feared drowned in floodwaters in Beerwah on Saturday.

The boys were found safe and well, although they had walked over a flooded bridge to get to a friend's house.

"I can personally say my life has changed since I lost my niece 14 months ago and if I can just get one person to hear my cry for the importance of water safety then I know I'm doing what I can," Ms Bright said.

"I can't begin to explain the emotional and psychological effects possible by losing a loved one in this tragic circumstance," she said.

"I jump online to read the news and my heart skips a beat to see that parents are allowing their children to be playing in floodwater.

"Driving around my local area I saw, on at least three occasions, children with and without adults walking the streets in the torrential rain with inflatable boats and body boards."

Ms Bright has become a devoted volunteer for Hannah's Foundation, Australia's only drowning prevention awareness and family support service.

"Someone's swimming ability can assist in a bad situation but it's not going to necessarily save a life," she said.

"The waterways can be unpredictable at the best of times not to mention when you add two days of torrential rain and the aftermath of a cyclone."

Hannah's Foundation executive officer Kat Plint said images posted to social media of people being irresponsible in flooded waterways caused distress and anguish to families who had lost loved ones in drownings in all kinds of circumstances.

"When there's a tragedy, or even a near-tragedy, we get seven or eight families contacting us for emotional support as it brings all those horrible memories back," Ms Plint said.

"They have every right to be angry and mad at people's actions, these are normal reactions when you are grieving," she said.

Hannah's Foundation is looking to expand its educational program into any schools willing to have a visit, for the cost of one gold coin donation per child.

Visit www.hannahsfoundation.org.


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