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Heartbreak as dad drowns on weekend getaway

by Staff

“We are devastated that he is gone, and we’re truly sorry his wife and kids will now have to live without him.”

A fourth person has died in a drowning incident at Phillip Island in Victoria.

Emergency services responded to reports of four people struggling in the water at Forrest Caves Beach at around 3.30pm Wednesday.

All four people – three women and a man – were brought unresponsive from the water.

Three people were pronounced dead at the scene with a woman being flown to hospital in a critical condition.

The woman has since died in hospital.

Life Saving Victoria is advising swimmers to stay safe in the water.

Takao Kaneko was enjoying the long weekend with his wife and two children at Wallerawang, near Lithgow, when he got into trouble at Wallace Lake.

Police were notified, but tragically his body was recovered on Sunday.

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Takao’s family started a GoFundMe to help his wife and two children as they mourn his loss.

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Takao Kaneko drowned during a weekend getaway with his family. Picture: GoFundMe

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“He did everything in his power to save his children”

A family member wrote Takao was last seen alive at 1.15pm on Friday on a paddleboard with his two kids.

“They were playing near the shore where family and friends were gathered for a camping trip,” he wrote.

“The wind on that fateful day was strong, forcefully pushing them away from the safety of the shore.

“Witnesses at the campsite mentioned the intensity of the wind, speculating it may have led to an accidental fall into deep waters towards the middle of the lake.

“Despite the challenging conditions, Takao courageously did everything in his power to keep his children afloat, but tragically, he struggled to keep himself on the surface.”

RELATED: Tragedy as ‘beautiful’ 6yo non-verbal boy drowns in neighbour’s backyard pool

His body was found two days after he disappeared. Picture: GoFundMe

“It was too late”

Takao’s wife later found the empty paddleboard and called for help.

“A compassionate witness nearby managed to rescue both kids, but unfortunately, it was too late for Takao,” the GoFundMe reads.

“We anxiously awaited the emergency services and police to find him, but due to poor visibility underwater and the presence of seaweed, the search for his body took more time than expected.

“His body was located on Sunday about 11.15am.”

RELATED: I turned my back for two minutes, then I saw my toddler face down in the water

Friends and family have paid tribute to the father-of-two. Picture: GoFundMe

“Takao died as a hero”

Takao’s family flew from Japan to Australia to see his body at Lithgow Hospital after he was recovered.

“We are devastated that he is gone, and we’re truly sorry his wife and kids will now have to live without him,” the family wrote.

“Takao died as a hero, and he did everything to keep his children safe; his mission here was completed.

“We’ll always cherish his energy to play with and entertain his kids. He will be forever in our hearts and always remembered by his family and friends.”

The GoFundMe has raised almost $10,500 as of Wednesday morning, funds that will go towards funeral costs and helping his family’s future.

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