Up to a 25 tourists are believed to have been injured in a serious accident off the Kimberley coast.
Reports were emerging on Friday afternoon that a tourist boat had capsized or run ashore at Horizontal Falls, about around 100 kilometres north of Derby, in Western Australia’s north-west.
There are multiple reports that up to 25 people were injured or missing following the accident, in an area known for large tides, whirlpools and strong currents.
The boat was believed to be carrying 26 passengers and two crew.
Broome Hospital is reportedly on standby to receive patients, with other local hospitals, medical services and aircraft also ready to assist.
By mid-afternoon (AEST), the ABC was reporting that seaplanes had begun landing in Broome, carrying the injured.
Some were believed to be seriously hurt, and flown directly to hospital in Perth.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service was also on the scene of the boating accident.
WA Police have so far confirmed only that “several people on board are injured”.
Horizontal Falls are a major Kimberley tourist attraction, where a fast-moving tidal current squeezes through two narrow gorges of the McLarty Range in Talbot Bay. One of the gaps is just 10 metres wide.
The water rushes through the twin gaps, producing waterfalls turned on their side. The powerful Kimberley tides can rise and fall more than 10 metres.
Called Garaangaddim by traditional owners, the falls have been described by David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”.
Lalang-garram/Horizontal Falls Marine Park attracts thousands of tourists every year, keen to ride a jet boat through the falls or fly over the area.
-more to come