News

Dad vows to recover son's body from lake

THE grieving father of drowning victim Duncan Wilmot has promised not to give up the mission to recover his son's body.

Ryan Wilmott (pictured right with son Duncan) is full of praise for the efforts of police and emergency services so far, despite the fact that the body of his 16-year-old son still lies somewhere in the depths of Aqua Lake, an old mine filled with water behind Collingwood Park.

Mr Wilmott said the hardest thing for him to deal with was the knowledge that his son was "down there every night".

"He is my only son and I won't be able to live with myself if we don't find him," Mr Wilmott said.

"He was a good bloke. He never judged anyone and he was never mean. He cared about other people more than himself.

"To be stuck down there is something that he didn't deserve, in fact you wouldn't want to leave any kid down there."

It has now been more than a week since Duncan drowned in the lake.

He had been swimming with a friend when he jumped off a steep bank, came back up, then sank back below the surface.

Police divers spent several days scouring the lake as deep as they could go - which is about 30m - without success.

There is still hope for the Wilmott family, with news that NSW police divers could be sent in.

The NSW divers have a mobile decompression chamber and are capable of reaching depths of about 50m, according to police.

Mr Wilmott said he had also heard from a company with underwater camera and robot technology capable of reaching 100m depth that had offered their services to the cause.

He is awaiting word back from police to see if they can assist in the recovery.

Police have also told the Queensland Times that the Navy could also be called on to assist in the search.

The Navy has access to remote-controlled vehicles that can dive up to 100m, which should be adequate for Aqua Lake, which has en estimated depth of about 80m.

Friends of Duncan have launched a Facebook group called, Drain Aqua Lake Quarry for Duncan.

The group, which has more than 3400 supporters, is calling for police to drain the dam in an operation similar to the effort to recover the body of murder victim Dulcie Birt several years ago.

Police have told the QT that such an operation is extremely expensive and may be impractical, given that the lakes are filled by underground aquifers.

These are factors that Mr Wilmott has acknowledged.

Mr Wilmott has installed a cross near the dam, which he said was a tribute to his son and a warning for other young people not to risk jumping into the dams in the area.

Topics:  drowning duncan wilmott editors picks ipswich



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