A heartbreaking incident occurred during a school trip when a 16-year-old boy tragically lost his life. Ahmad Alfarhan drowned after falling into the water at Browns Beach in South Australia's Innes National Park in March 2021. Ahmad was one of three boys who had ventured into the water while visiting the park with Pinnacle College. One of the boys slipped off a moss-covered rock and fell into the ocean, while the other two either slipped or jumped in to save him.
The police referred to Ahmad as a hero, believing that he had bravely tried to rescue his friend. Unfortunately, while his two friends managed to reach the shore, Ahmad was swept away by the current and his body was not found until the following day. Prior to leaving for the trip, Ahmad had bid his mother farewell, saying, "I will see you in two days, don't miss me." These last words were incredibly heartbreaking for his mother, as she never expected to say goodbye to her son forever.
Ahmad's mother spoke in a victim impact statement about the immense pain she experienced. She described him as the light and smile of their household and expressed her sorrow at losing a piece of her heart. Ahmad had just turned 16 and had been excited about obtaining his driver's license, finishing school, and attending university. The Pinnacle College students on the trip had the opportunity to choose their own activities, including camping and fishing.
However, no risk assessment was conducted for rock fishing, which is a dangerous sport in Australia. This activity was not mentioned on the permission slip signed by parents. When the students arrived at the national park, their first task was to grab their fishing rods and find a rock outcrop to begin fishing. Tragically, during this time, one student lost his balance and fell into the sea. Ahmad and another student attempted to rescue him but Ahmad was unable to save himself. The cause of Ahmad's death was determined to be drowning. Judge Crawley, in his judgment, emphasized that three students could have lost their lives that day.
As a result, Pinnacle College was fined $420,000 for breaching health and safety laws. The school expressed a public and unreserved apology to Ahmad's family. It has also implemented measures such as setting up a tribute to Ahmad and employing a work, health, and safety officer. Ahmad's death was deemed a tragic and unnecessary loss of a young life by SafeWork SA executive director, Glenn Farrell. This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of assessing risks and prioritizing the safety of students during school trips.