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Coroner says boating tragedy was “totally avoidable”

April 24, 2024 12:05 pm in by

A coroner has revealed that a combination of alcohol, illicit drugs and a lack of basic safety precautions led to the avoidable deaths of three people in a boating incident near Wynyard three years ago.

23-year-old Isaiah Solomon Dixon, 31-year-old Bree-Anna Mary Jennifer Thomas, both from Wynyard, and 27-year-old Thomas James Courto, of Ulverstone, all drowned near Table Cape on October 18 in 2021.

Coroner Simon Cooper said the trio had been consuming alcohol at the Wharf Hotel in Wynyard the afternoon of the incident.

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Searches located the bodies of Mr Dixon and Ms Thomas on the shore between Table Cape and the mouth of the Inglis River the day after – neither of them were wearing life jackets.

Toxicology results from the bodies revealed alcohol and methyl-amphetamine, or ice, were present in both systems.

A recreational diver found a human femur bone six months later in water below the Table Cape Lighthouse, with subsequent DNA testing confirming it was from Mr Courto.

Mr Cooper found there were no adverse weather conditions or an un-seaworthy boat.

He said the trio should not have been on the water on the day and the tragedy was totally avoidable.

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