Family fears a drowning on doorstep

A FAMILY that lives on Bonegilla Island say it’s only a matter of time before someone drowns on its doorstep.

Nurse Beth Hawkins was doing housework yesterday afternoon when she heard yelling and found a man at the fence of their paddock.

“He was saying his mother-in-law was drowning,” Mrs Hawkins said.

“He was pretty upset.”

It’s not the first time she’s been called upon by panicked paddlers.

Another man knocked on her two years ago door after his son and mother had become caught by some logs in the same bend of the Murray River.

“I don’t know if they had fallen out but they were holding on to some logs in the middle again,” Mrs Hawkins said.

“Because the water has been so high over for a couple of years, it makes it hard to manoeuvre if you’re not a canoeist.”

After witnessing another almost-tragedy, Mrs Hawkins and her husband, builder David Hawkins, said it was time for things to change.

Mrs Hawkins said there needed to be more responsibility taken by the operators of canoe businesses to protect the safety of their clients.

“These people are put into canoes despite their age, health and medical conditions,” Mrs Hawkins said.

“People here know the river but outsiders don’t.

“I would hate to go out and find someone drowned.”

When Mr Hawkins approached the river rescue yesterday, he told his son Angus, 15, to stay back.

He feared that’s exactly what had happened.

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