A 75-year-old Japanese woman is the fourth tourist to die in less than a month while snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia's popular tourist attraction. She was pulled from the water on Tuesday (13 December) at Moore Reef, about 45km (30 miles) from Cairns, on the east coast of Far North Queensland.
The woman, whose name has not been released, is reported to be the 10th person to die on the reef in the region since January this year. Earlier in November, two French tourists, both in their seventies, and a British scuba diver, 60, died during the recreational activity.
The elderly lady from Japan was with a tour group, which issued a statement on Wednesday expressing "deep sympathies" to her family and friends. "Our crew have being offered support and professional counselling," ABC news cited the travel company as saying.
BBC reported that the woman was given Cardiopulmonary resuscitation – more commonly known as CPR - but she could not be saved.
The deaths of divers on the reef have raised serious concerns as the fatalities are twice the marine tourism industry average this year. Most of the victims were elderly people and had pre-existing medical conditions prior to taking up snorkelling in the reef, the ABC news quoted the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators as saying.
Since snorkelling on the reef is on many people's bucket lists, the association is considering tweaking the regulation following the Japanese woman's death, spokesman Colonel McKenzie said.
"While we are very proud of the fact we have the safest snorkelling in the world, we've got to sit down and have a really close look at all these events and see if there's anything we can do," he said.
McKenzie added that the association will have to implement rules that make visitors over a certain age acknowledge that they have been told about the risks associated with snorkelling and diving.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the oceanic country's most popular tourist destinations, with over two million people visiting every year. It has thousands of individual reefs and several islands along the Queensland coast and reportedly generates more than $1.5bn (£1.2bn) in revenue through tourism.