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Australian snorkeller dies off Fiji resort

AAP
Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update: 4:27PM A 36-YEAR-OLD Australian man has died while snorkelling off thhe coral coast.

The man's death has been confirmed by Peter Hopgood, general manager of the exclusive Outrigger on the Lagoon resort.

He said the man had been a guest who had checked into the resort with a friend for just one night.

The man had gone snorkelling by himself about 3.20pm on Saturday and had returned to the beach.

"He was last seen by guests walking along the sand at 5.45pm. The person in question was snorkelling late in the evening and did not return to his accommodation," Mr Hopgood said.

The alarm was raised late Saturday night and police began searching the shoreline.

The search resumed at first light on Sunday and the man's body was found on a coral reef soon after, about one kilometre south of the resort and just offshore, Mr Hopgood said.

The body has been taken to a local morgue at nearby Sigatoka for an autopsy.

DFAT and the Australian embassy have been informed.

Mr Hopgood has released a letter to the other guests at the five-star resort.

"The resort has made the necessary arrangements with local authorities and the Australian embassy to return the body to Australia," it says.

"The resort's family passes on our deepest condolences to the friends and family of the deceased.

"We request that guests refrain from entering the ocean after dark."

It's believed the man was originally from Perth but living and working in Melbourne.

Ten days ago, Sydney father-of-three Mark Hardaker, 40, was killed in a collision between two boats while holidaying with his family in Fiji.