‘I could hear screaming’ – Drowning at Mill Park Lake

Two men have drowned after drinking alcohol.

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Mill Park Lake (source: ABC)

Two men have drowned after drinking alcohol and attempting to swim across a lake in Melbourne’s north on Sunday night.

  • Police called after 21 year old man lost sight of two friends in the lake at Redleap Reserve, Mill Park last night.
  • The body of a man aged in his 30’s was recovered from the lake by rescue crews at 9:30pm, followed by the body of the 19 year old man at 10pm.
  • Trained Lifesaver, Nathan Henderson, lives near the lake and witnessed the drowning of the two men.

It was the tragic end to a Sunday night of drinking at Redleap Reserve in Mill Park last night, when two men drowned, after deciding to try and swim across the deep, murky lake at around 6:30pm.

Police were called after the third man, who did not attempt the swim aged 21, lost sight of his two friends.

It has been confirmed by police that a 19-year- old man from Mernda and another man aged in his 30’s have drowned in the lake due to the effects of alcohol, their bodies were recovered in a rescue operation involving the SES and Victoria Police at 9:30 and 10pm, after the 21-year- old man tried to swim out and save his mates.

Senior Sergeant Mark Smith said the 21-year- old “attempted to swim out and rescue his friends, and he started to feel the effects of water and alcohol himself… he returned to shore and alerted passers by to contact police”.

Former lifeguard and witness of the incident, Nathan Henderson who lives opposite the lake, said he heard screaming from his home on Sunday night.

“I was sitting upstairs in my room at around 6:30pm and then dad opened the door and said there’s someone in the park screaming for help so we both ran downstairs”, he said.

“So we both ran out there and there was a guy in the water screaming and trying to get out of the water onto the pier on the opposite side of the lake”.

“He was saying ‘it’s been too long; they’ve been under too long’, so I realised someone had gone under”.

The 27-year- old said he sprinted home to get his surfboard to help rescue efforts.

“The water is murky, there’s no clarity at all. It was cold. It was probably three or four meters deep in the deepest part…”

The Mill Park man, who is a trained lifesaver, said he’d witnessed friends die from drowning before and said: “thinking about that makes me feel sick”.

“I don’t understand why they did it, even if you weren’t drunk the water doesn’t look good or appealing,” Mr Henderson said.

A large “Caution: Deep Water” sign sits next to the jetty at the lake.


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Amanda is an imaginative and enthusiastic writer currently studying a Masters of Writing and Literature at Deakin University. She is passionate about her family, friends, good food and good music (and maybe that glass of Sav Blanc too). Catching the travel bug at fifteen, Amanda liked what Europe had to offer and after graduating high school she took on a work and travel gig with her twin sister in 2012. She spent the adventurous and rewarding year waitressing in England, bike riding in Tuscany, getting caught in the rain in Spain (literally) and visiting family in Croatia. Now Amanda lives in Melbourne where culture and cuisine come alive and while she completes her post-graduate studies, she will work towards landing the job of her dreams within the writing, editing and publishing industry.