Police searching for the body of a drowned woman in far north Queensland instead found the body of a teenage boy who had not been reported as missing.
The pair drowned in a dam during an Australia Day party on a property in Julattan, north-west of Cairns.
The woman has been identified as Kirsty Cini, 24.
Her parents have rushed to Cairns after learning of her death.
Acting Inspector Rob Campbell said police were called to an annual Australia Day party on the property shortly after 4:00pm following reports a woman was missing in a dam.
Police said they believed Ms Cini was involved in an accident while using a water slide at the domestic dam.
Her stepfather Bruce Baker described her as “outgoing and very active and very happy 99 per cent of the time”.
“[We are] just coming to terms with it. I hope we get there,” he said.
Mr Baker said Ms Cini’s mother was shattered and could not speak.
“She’s her only daughter.”
He said police had told him friends called triple-0 when Kirsty “appeared to go limp” halfway down the water slide into the dam.
Mr Baker said friends tried to search for her but they could not dive deep enough.
It was during their search for Ms Cini that police found another body.
“The tragic aspect is that during the search for her the officers located a deceased 15-year-old boy in the dam who appears to have drowned prior to the female,” he said.
“He was last seen 20 minutes prior to the accident.
“With the boy we have no information to indicate he was on the slide but that’s what we hope to uncover.”
The boy’s body was brought back to shore and police kept searching for Ms Cini, finding her body a short time later.
Paramedics made extensive efforts to revive them but both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Acting Inspector Campbell said up to 50 friends and family of the property owners attended the private event and were shocked to witness the drownings.
“It’s very tragic circumstances. The party is an annual event on Australia Day where friends and family come together so for them it’s very tragic consequences,” he said.
Alcohol and the structural integrity of the slide are both avenues police are investigating.
“There was alcohol involved during the day,” Inspector Campbell said.
“There will be a number of aspects investigated. Alcohol will be one, including the actions of the deceased persons and the friends and relatives, and aspects in relation to safety and construction.
“We are not aware of anything in relation to underage drinking at the moment.”
Julattan ‘a small and close-knit’ town
Mareeba Shire Council deputy mayor Alan Pedersen said the regional community was in shock.
“Our hearts go out to the family,” he said.
“No doubt the police will get to the bottom of it but think of their families, what they’re going through.”
Cr Pedersen said Julattan was a small, close-knit rural township.
“It’s tragic whenever you lose young people but under those circumstances is shocking as well.
“It’s certainly going to have an impact on this small community.”