Beach tragedy: 'He died doing what he loved'
WEST Mackay man David John Gordon died celebrating his 25th birthday.
Engaged in two of his great loves, partying with friends and riding motorbikes, Mr Gordon misjudged the location of the Bucasia Beach enclosure and crashed into it about 9pm Sunday.
The much-loved son and friend suffered what would ultimately be fatal injuries - a severed spleen, liver, internal bleeding and decompressed lungs.
Revellers had spilled out of a birthday party in Bucasia Sunday night and onto the beach where they took turns riding motorbikes.
Partygoers, including Mr Gordon's stepbrothers, called for help and, on arrival, paramedics directed Mr Gordon from the swimming enclosure on the beach to the ambulance.
Father Andrew Gordon said he understood his son struggled to walk off the beach with his injuries and his stepbrothers ended up carrying him to the ambulance, that rushed him to Mackay Base Hospital.
He said Mr Gordon, who had autism spectrum disorder, was extremely distressed.
"His stepbrothers called us and all we could hear was David screaming that he couldn't breathe, we didn't have any idea what was going on," his father said.
"We just drove to the hospital and waited for the ambulance to arrive."
Mr Gordon took his final breath at the hospital in a tragic end to his quarter-century birthday.
The hospital notified the police of the crash and an investigation is underway.
Mackay Forensic Crash Unit's Michael Parker attended the scene Tuesday morning to take photos and gather evidence for the investigation.
Senior Constable Parker said alcohol may be a contributing factor to the crash but this would be confirmed through blood-alcohol testing at a later date.
Police believe the unregistered motorbike hit the enclosure at high speed causing injury to the victim's abdominal area.
Sen Const Parker said it was not originally clear how serious his injuries were, as he walked to the ambulance with the aid of witnesses who also rendered immediate first aid.
Mr Gordon's stepmother Paula and his father described him "as a loyal friend", someone who was loving and protective, always looking after his mates.
Because Mr Gordon lived with autism, he spent his days learning how to cook and shop independently with the support of local community services.
Mr Gordon is survived by a large family of siblings; step-siblings and half-siblings. Most of them were with him when he was injured at the beach.
His parents said family was a huge part of his life and he considered his siblings his closest friends.
"When his dad worked away he would help me around the house and look after me," his stepmum of six years, Mrs Gordon said.
"He died doing what he loved. Partying with his friends, riding motorbikes. We're thankful he at least got to enjoy a massive send-off in his honour," she said.
The family thanked emergency department staff at the hospital for their hard work in attempting to keep Mr Gordon alive.
"From the moment we got there, they worked very hard on David and constantly updated us on his health," his father said.
In Mackay, it is illegal to operate motorbikes in parks, reserves, bushland, easements, coastal areas or any other public place.
Mackay Regional Council prosecutes those caught riding in prohibited areas. They may be liable for a maximum fine of $2611.
If Queensland Police captures riders on prohibited land, riders could find themselves with no bike after police seized it and more fines for riding an uninsured vehicle.
If motorbikes or all-terrain vehicles are caught riding in coastal areas, the penalties are more severe and can carry a maximum fine of $52,220 under the Coastal Management and Protection Act, 1995.
Any authorised officer, including Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Officers/Rangers, can issue on the spot fines.