20 Years Since Australia's Worst Surfing Tragedy At Gracetown

27 Sep 2016 0

Huzza's break in Gracetown, Photo by Dan Wyer

Huzza's break in Gracetown, Photo by Dan Wyer

COASTALWATCH | LATEST NEWS 

Story by Coastalwatch WA Surf Forecaster Dan Wyer

Twenty years to this day on 27th September 1996, tragedy struck Western Australia's surfing community. Nine lives were lost in WA's worst recorded natural disaster. A school surfing competition was taking place at Gracetown's 'Huzzas' surf break with students from the Cowaramup and Margaret River Primary Schools participating. Similar to today's bad weather, rain had forced spectators of the finals that Friday afternoon, to take shelter beneath an overhanging cliff face within the southern corner of Cowaramup Bay. Tragedy soon struck. Just moments after the finals siren sounded, and without warning, the karst limestone overhang gave way trapping all eleven who sheltered below. There were nine fatalities that afternoon, in what is still the biggest tragedy in Australia's surfing history.

Today, we reflect on those who were lost and friends and families that have been affected by this tragedy. With heavy hearts, we remember them – gone but never forgotten. Lindsay Thompson, 47, School Principal Ian Bremner, 39, Peter McFarlane, 41, Lindell Otto, 41, Madline Wall, 35, and children Gina Iddon, 11, Reb­ecca Morgan, 12, Rachel Waller, 12 and Nathan Sotiriadis, 13.

The memorial area, Photo by Duncan Rawlinson

The memorial area, Photo by Duncan Rawlinson


Tags: topnews , western australia , gracetown (create Alert from these tags)

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