Dagun’s Kim Crawford remembers Alex Johnson, 5, as a bright-eyed child who was full of wonder.
Dagun’s Kim Crawford remembers Alex Johnson, 5, as a bright-eyed child who was full of wonder. Renee Pilcher

Boy, 5, drowns in dam

PREP student Alex Johnson had been playing with a friend, 3, on Saturday when he wandered off.

His parents realised he was missing at about 2.30pm. At first Alex’s father thought his son had hopped on to the Valley Rattler steam train.

The family lives across the road from the historic Dagun railway station where markets are held when the Rattler stops there every Saturday.

But half an hour later Alex was found in a small dam on a paddock about 80m from the station.

He was face down when his father pulled him from the water and tried desperately to revive him.

Others, who had been at the station for the Dagun markets, ran to help perform heart revival procedure until an ambulance arrived.

Alex, 5, was taken to Gympie Hospital where staff also tried to revive him but he later died. He was the youngest of the Johnsons’ four children and their only son.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Bailey from the Gympie Child Protection Investigation Unit said the boy had climbed through a barbed-wire fence and was found in 30cm of water surrounded by weeds.

The dam is hidden from the station by large trees and, once at the water’s edge, he could have easily become entangled in reeds.

It appeared that Alex had walked along a gully that led to the dam, between the station and a fence.

Dagun Community Group secretary Kim Crawford placed a memorial near the dam yesterday to show his support for Alex’s family. He remembers Alex as a child who was full of wonder about the world. “He was never seen crying, just a typical five-year-old country kid. Our community is very strong and we will rally behind them.”

Alex’s parents were too distraught to speak to The Gympie Times yesterday but Mr Crawford said they had taught him about the dangers of living in the country, about how to be safe on the road, near the train tracks and not to go near the dam.

“He was so conscious of the dangers past the gate,” Mr Crawford said.

Children at Dagun and Jones Hill state schools were offered counselling yesterday as the news spread about Alex’s death.

Even though he attended Jones’ Hill, Mr Crawford said he was known by most of the students at Dagun.

Police believe the death was accidental but are waiting on the results of a post-mortem.

Mr Crawford said he hoped others would help support the family. To help with fundraising contact the Mary Valley Lions Club on 5484 5196.

Gympie Times


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