Boy falls off end of Port Noarlunga jetty City of Onkaparinga failed to replace stairs on


September 02, 2019 11:19:08

A five-year-old boy has fallen off the end of an Adelaide jetty where the local council has failed to replace stairs damaged in a storm in December last year.

Key points:

  • A five-year-old boy fell from the Port Noarlunga jetty into the sea
  • His father jumped into save him but had to tread water with him for 50 minutes
  • The local council planned to replace stairs on the jetty by May but has not because of the winter weather

Jonathan and his father, Damien Cain, spent 50 minutes treading water at the end of the Port Noarlunga jetty, in Adelaide’s south, on Father’s Day until they were rescued by strangers.

According to a Facebook post by Mr Cain’s fiancee, Dee Marie Grillett, the boy fell in about midday while Mr Cain was taking a photo of her and her stepson.

Mr Cain dived in after him fully clothed.

Both Mr Cain and Jonathan were taken to hospital with concerns about hypothermia.

Mr Cain also received cuts from barnacles on the jetty pylons.

Ms Grillett said she was “absolutely appalled at the fact there was no ladder, no life buoy, no boat, nothing” to help assist her loved ones.

“This could have been fatal,” she wrote on Facebook.

“I will be taking this matter further.”

The end of the jetty is about 15 metres above the water.

The jetty is popular for divers wanting to explore the reef at the end of it.

Stairs were due to be replaced in May

Stairs at the end of the jetty used by divers were destroyed in a storm in December.

Signs at the start of the jetty state the City of Onkaparinga planned to replace them by the end of May 2019.

A Facebook post by the council in June said the new stairs were complete and in storage ready for installation.

“The installation timing is ultimately determined by the weather because the contractors require consecutive days of perfect conditions to install the freestanding piles accurately the first time,” it said.

“… the opportunity to install may narrow further during the winter months, however, we are monitoring the forecast and will start work as soon as the right opportunity arises to ensure the new stairs are in place before summer.”

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) there was 24 millimetres less rain than average in Noarlunga over winter, and three fewer rainy days than normal.

There were six days in a row without rain from August 23–28.

‘Interim safety measures’ to be installed

City of Onkaparinga councillor Simon McMahon told ABC Radio Adelaide the delay in getting the stairs put in was because of consultation with divers about the new stairs.

He said he had contacted the mayor and council staff to have “interim safety measures” put in place as soon as possible.

He said the jetty itself was not dangerous but “we don’t have any stairs at the end of the jetty so, the danger risk is really in getting out of water”.

“What we’ve been waiting for is obviously in a marine environment we need to have consecutive days of pristine conditions to make sure that we can undertake those works safely and without damaging the new stairs or any of the current infrastructure,” Cr McMahon said.

“Winter has been a little bit tricky and we really are waiting for consecutive days of good weather and good tides so our teams can go in and construct the new stairs.”

Search for men who helped save pair

A man and his two sons helped rescue Mr Cain and Jonathan from the water.

“[We] just really want to talk to the man who helped us,” Ms Grillett wrote.

“Up top, he comforted me in anger and frustration, he threw Damien and Jonathan a rope, life jackets and blankets.

“You’re a legend mate you and your sons both are — mark my words.

“Please share and help find the men who helped us!”

Cr McMahon said it was lucky the men were there to help.

“It just shows the community we’ve got down here on Father’s Day are willing to go above and beyond and I’m very thankful for their support,” he said.










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