Two fathers who drowned trying to save their children from rough surf on a remote beach have been hailed as heroes as tributes flow in.
Tributes are flowing for two fathers who drowned while trying to save their children from dangerous surf at a remote beach on the Sunshine Coast.
Denny Jade Caballa and Richard Catbagan, both 37, were on a family road trip with their families when they set up camp near Teewah Beach, north of Noosa, where tragedy struck.
Their children were washed out to sea by a rogue wave, prompting the friends to launch a rescue mission, but they drowned despite several bystanders rushing to their aid.
Emergency crews were called to the unpatrolled beach about 2.30pm on Saturday.
A nine-year-old boy, one of Mr Caballa‘s two sons, was flown to Sunshine Coast University Hospital in a stable condition. He has since been discharged.
A third man, who was also in the water, was treated at the scene.
Two of the children were able to get out of the water on their own.
Kevin Beramo was sitting in the car with other family members when Cherry Apple, Mr Caballa’s wife, told them what had happened.
“When we found out, it was like heaven and earth came down on us,” he said.
“You’re a hero. Until we meet again cousin Jade … this is so sudden.”
Several bystanders, including off-duty nurses, doctors and a surf lifesaver, tried desperately to revive the men, but they tragically died at the scene.
Family and friends have since posted tributes on Facebook to the beloved fathers who died while carrying out a “very selfless act”.
“You will be missed forever and always. The beautiful moments you shared with us will always speak of a great person that you were. Rest in peace up in the heaven my friend,” one person wrote about Mr Caballa.
Another thanked Mr Catbagan for his friendship and happy memories.
Earlier, police said three of their men’s children were wading in the shallows when they were hit by a “rogue wave”.
“As a result of that a number of children were dragged into the deeper water and a couple of the parents have gone in to rescue them,’’ a police spokesman said.
Surf Life Saving Queensland said the tragedy followed several serious incidents on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday before issuing a reminder to only ever swim between the red and yellow flags at patrolled beaches.
The incident will be referred to the state coroner.