Friend tried to rescue teen before she vanished in water
A FRIEND of a young Cairns woman who vanished at an infamous swimming hole tried to reach out and grab her moments before she was sucked into a dangerous underwater current.
White Rock woman Madison Tam, 18, was believed to have been trying to swim between two rocks at the Devil's Pool area of the Babinda Boulders on Monday afternoon when she was dragged into the "Chute" area of the pools which plunge to a depth of 8m and failed to resurface.
Police divers joined emergency services at the site late yesterday in the search for the woman, presumed drowned.
Police have vowed to continue searching until they find the teenager to "give some answers" to her distraught family.
The former St Mary's College student had been at the restricted swimming hole with three other people, one believed to have been her boyfriend, when she disappeared about 2pm on Monday.
Another group of six people were also there at the time.
A major search involving police, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services swift water rescue team, SES volunteers and the Rescue 510 helicopter was launched but failed to find her.
It continued yesterday with no luck and is expected to resume this morning.
It had been 12 years since a drowning death at the site, but prior to that 17 people had lost their lives since the 1950s.
Division 1 Cairns regional councillor Brett Moller described the situation as an "absolute tragedy" for a local family.
"My thoughts are with the family. This was a young girl with everything to live for," he said.
"This has an impact, not just on the family and friends, but I feel for the rescuers, too.
"This is quite an arduous task and if it is a sad result that will be tragic for them."
Babinda SES volunteer Phil Terranova said their volunteers helped guard the area on Monday night for almost 12 hours.
"It sinks in when you're just sitting around just waiting for things," he said.
"Especially when it's been … it's very, very sad when it's a young person."
Devil's Pool is about 600m from the main swimming area and there are many significant signs warning against swimming.
Originally published as 'Absolute tragedy': Friend tried to rescue teen before she vanished