A young Melbourne musician who became the 20th person to drown at a Victorian beach this summer has been remembered as “a young man full of life, energy, spirit and dreams”.
JJay De Melo, who recently announced he would be supporting Californian hip-hop star Tyga at Melbourne’s Festival Hall on Australia Day, drowned while swimming on the Mornington Peninsula on Tuesday afternoon.
Police said the man was swimming with a friend at Bushrangers Bay, near Flinders, around 5pm when he got into trouble.
His body was found 90 minutes later, and attempts to resuscitate him failed.
His friend made it to shore safely, police said.
“It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we learn of the passing of one of our members,” the community organisation Youth Activating Youth (YAY) posted on Facebook.
“JJay De Melo was a young man full of life, energy, spirit and dreams.
“His infectious personality, passion and drive was unlike any other.
“His constant support at YAY, his remarkable talent for what he did and more importantly, the love he had for helping young people will never be forgotten.”
YAY director Ahmed Hassan tweeted he was in “total shock and disbelief” at the death.
“Can’t even comprehend the fact you are no longer with us,” he wrote.
“JJay De Melo you were more than colleague and school mate. You were a BROTHER.
“Just can’t believe I was talking to you last week about 2019 plans and how we’re going back to work next week.
“You always were inspired to do more and help people regardless of who it was.”
Drowning numbers double
Yesterday’s death is the 20th drowning in Victoria this summer, and follows the death of another man on Monday, whose body was retrieved from water at Brighton beach in suburban Melbourne.
Twice as many people have drowned this summer compared to the average rate of the past decade.
Nationwide, 73 drowning deaths have been reported in Australia this summer to date, an increase of 55 per cent on last year.
Life Saving Victoria said it’s an alarming statistic and it will investigate why water safety messages are failing to cut through.
“We’ll continue to work with all of our partners to make sure that the message we are giving to the public are effective,” the organisations’ acting lifesaving operations manager, Kane Treloar, said.
“Following the end of the summer period, our risk and research team will speak to our stakeholders to conduct an analysis of what we are using and making sure tat the message is getting through.”