Two Japanese teenagers drown in Australian lake: Police

MELBOURNE (REUTERS, AFP) - The bodies of two Japanese teenagers missing since Friday were found in a lake on Fraser Island off Australia's northeast coast, police said on Saturday (March 30).

"Two 16-year-old boys have sadly drowned on Fraser Island overnight," Queensland state police said on Twitter.

"The boys, both Japanese nationals, were reported missing from a tour group near Lake McKenzie just after 5 pm yesterday afternoon," a police statement said.

Jeff Ellison from Sealink, which owns the Kingfisher Bay Resort at Fraser Island, said a search party had gone out as soon as the boys did not return to the tour bus.

Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island, north of the Queensland capital, Brisbane, is a popular tourist and swimming destination. Britain's Prince Harry visited the lake during a tour of Australia last year.

“This is a tragic event, there is no doubt about that,” police inspector Tony Clowes told reporters.

Clowes said there was nothing to immediately indicate suspicious circumstances surrounding the drowning, but said more would be known as they prepare a coroners report. 

The public need to be aware of their swimming abilities before entering Australian waters, Clowes added. 

“Be aware that if you are entering water there is some inherent risk with entering waterways in this country,” he said.

Clowes said families of the boys have been notified and authorities were working with the Japanese consulate to provide support.  

Fraser, the world’s largest sand island, is popular with tourists for its beaches – and is also well-known for its dingoes.  Two of the wild animals were put down earlier this month after a French mother and son were mauled by dingoes on the island. 

It followed an attack in January when a six-year-old boy was mauled by the native animal after as he ran up a dune on the island.