Children Lose Parents in Snorkeling Accident

Parents drowned off Western Australian coast


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A 13-year-old boy was the first to spot his parents floating facedown near Australia’s Ningaloo Reef yesterday, after a snorkeling accident that is feared to have left him and his 10-year-old sister orphaned. Beachgoers failed to resuscitate their mother after her body washed ashore, and their father remains missing at sea.

Kathreen Ricketson, 41, and Robert Shrugg, 48, left their children on the beach while they snorkeled the waters off Elle’s Beach. The cause of their deaths is still unknown, though an inspector says there is no evidence of a shark attack or suspicious circumstances.

The family had been on a yearlong roadtrip around Australia. Ricketson had been chronicling their journey on her blog, and planned to turn it into a book. Now, the children are in Perth with family members while officials continue to search for their father.

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