French tourists die snorkelling on Great Barrier Reef
Two French tourists have died while snorkelling on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
The pair were found unconscious in shallow water near Cairns in Far North Queensland at about 11:00 local time (01:00 GMT) on Wednesday, police said.
The man and woman, both in their seventies, were among a group of 21 French holidaymakers, said tour operator Passions of Paradise.
The Courier Mail reported the pair suffered cardiac arrests.
The incident happened at Michaelmas Cay, a popular tourist spot about 40km (25 miles) northeast of Cairns.
"The two people indicated they had pre-existing medical conditions before they got in the water," Col McKenzie, chief of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, told the BBC.
"The company actually had guides in the water swimming around the snorkellers making sure they were OK."
The man was spotted in distress first, Mr McKenzie said. A lookout pulled him to the beach and tried to resuscitate him.
"Minutes afterward, the lookout who was working on the boat spotted somebody face down in the water, not moving. They swam over and pulled them onto the boat and commenced resuscitation."
Passions of Paradise CEO Scotty Garden gave his sympathy to the pair's family and friends.
He said the company would offer assistance to the other travellers.
"It is very stressful for our staff but their priority has been with helping the group," he said in a statement.
Mr McKenzie said Passions of Paradise had taken more than 400,000 people to the reef since it began operating in 1989.