'We Are Very Sorry': School Grieves Over Japanese Students Who Drowned On Fraser Island
A school principal in Japan has remembered two young students who drowned on Queensland's Fraser Island as "bright and energetic".
The boys, aged 16, were among a group of Japanese students visiting the popular tourist destination on a school exchange program that was due to return to Japan on Sunday.
Their bodies were discovered in Lake McKenzie about 8:20am on Saturday.
Kanagawa University High School principal Hisashi Kikuchi spoke to local media of the school's grief.
"It is very unfortunate that this has happened -- we are very sorry," Kikuchi said, according to reports.
"The two students were very bright and energetic. I think everyone liked them very much."
The boys were on a public tour of the island when they were reported missing on Friday. According to SeaLink Travel Group CEO Jeff Ellison, guests are briefed on the bus before exploring the lake and surrounding area during a 'free time' period.
"My understanding is that at the end of that time, at 5pm, they were due back on the bus. They were two short and the tour guide identified that it was two of this group," Ellison said.
He said the tour guide commenced a search of the area before raising the alarm and calling police.
"With the police as the focal point, the rangers and hotel staff joined the search," Kikuchi said in a statement on the school's website.
"Without being able to find them, and it becoming more difficult because it was getting darker, they called off the search."
Ellison sent his condolences to the boys' families and the Fraser Coast community.
"Our hearts are thinking about the family, the children, the other boys who were on the tour, and all the community at this time," he said.
"We are a nation surrounded by water and many lakes. We must recognise that maybe visitors are less comfortable with the water ... and watch out for them more."
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said the deaths had shocked the community, with many offering to help "in any way they can".
"We welcome young people from right around the world. I often speak to these students when they come over on exchange," he said.
"They came here on a trip of a lifetime, and to die here, at 16 years old, is a true tragedy."
Seymour said he is unaware of any other drownings at Lake McKenzie and described it as a "calm and peaceful lake".
"This is one of the safest regions in the world," he said.
"This is very unusual for someone to drown at Lake McKenzie. It's a calm lake in the middle of an island ... there are no natural hazards."
Police will prepare a report for the Coroner and are currently in contact with the Japanese consulate.
Inspector Clowes said details surrounding how the children were supervised would be investigated.
Featured image: Getty