Man dies as inflatable raft upturns

A 21-YEAR-OLD man from Gatton has drowned and another two men were taken to a Sunshine Coast hospital in a serious condition after the inflatable raft they were using overturned in rough seas on Saturday.

The man's death - at Teewah beach, north of Noosa - takes the number of people who have drowned in Queensland waters to 31 for this year, 14 more than last year.

It is believed five men were sitting in an inflatable pool or craft in strong seas at the remote but popular beach, which is not patrolled.

A police spokeswoman said the inflatable craft overturned and the five men were thrown into the ocean.

Police say the incident happened between 1.40pm and 2.40pm.

CPR was performed on the man who died, Queensland Ambulance spokesman said.

Another two men were flown to Nambour General Hospital in a serious condition after almost drowning.

One had been pulled from the water and revived. Two more were taken to the same hospital by an ambulance.

All four survivors are now believed to be in a stable condition.

The tragedy occurred as the south-east Queensland coast has been battered by the highest tides of the year in recent days, a king tide which had been compounded with large swell from the east.

While the tide and swell are both expected to drop in the coming days, authorities are still appealing for swimmers to use caution.

Beaches have been periodically closed across the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in recent days, with many beaches - including Kawana, Wurtulla, Currumbin, Southport and Nobby beaches - almost completely swallowed by the tides.

Surf Life Saving Australia released their Coastal Safety Report on Friday and confirmed drowning deaths in Queensland coastal waters had increased.

The chief operations officer of Surf Life Saving Queensland, George Hill, said the increase in drowning deaths was of ''serious concern'' to the organisation.

Mr Hill said of the 30 drowning deaths recorded before Saturday's tragedy, eight had been ''preventable beach-related drowning'', an increase from five from the year before.

''All the swimming and wading drowning tragedies in Queensland occurred outside of the patrolled areas, reinforcing the message and need to always swim between the red and yellow flags,'' he said.

''As far as we're concerned, 30 deaths is 30 too many.''

Mr Hill said the statistics showed lifesavers had spent more than 300,000 hours on patrol this year with 2866 rescues across the state.

Beach conditions are expected to ease over the coming days, as the king tide drops and the eastern swell moves on.

This story Man dies as inflatable raft upturns first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.