Fiji schoolie death: family 'numb'


A school leaver who drowned in a resort pool in Fiji was "an outstanding student" and vice captain at a private Catholic college in Brisbane.

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Harrison was an 'outstanding young man'

The death of 17-year-old Harrison Kadell in Fiji has shocked the entire community, says Harrison's college principal Peter Elmore.

Harrison Kadell, 17, is being mourned by students at St Thomas More College at Sunnybank in Brisbane's south.

Fiji police say the teenager and his friends were partying around a pool at the Plantation Island Resort, off Nadi, as part of schoolies celebrations.

He was found dead about 4am local time on Tuesday.

St Thomas More principal Peter Elmore remembered Harrison as “an outstanding student and outstanding athlete”.


“His family was heavily involved in the school, with his mother being the chair of the school board and his older sister a former college captain,” he said.

“This has rocked our community. We’re deeply saddened and in grief at the moment.”

It is understood Harrison’s parents David and Selina and older sister Jordan are en route to Fiji. He also has a younger brother in Year 10 at St Thomas More College.

The family was notified of Harrison’s death by the Department of Foreign Affairs early this morning.

Mr Elmore said he had been with the family today.

“They are numb, in grief, shocked,” he said.

Harrison had been vice captain of the class of 2012 and was an athletic age champion.

School friends Kyaha Hoh, Chelsea Young and Kadance O'Connor, who were among students who gathered at the school's chapel today, said Harrison was kind, generous and popular with the girls.

"He was definitely a ladies' man," Ms Hoh said. "He was an amazing person. He was nice and caring."

The trio said his death would affect the entire school community.

"You don't even have to be friends with him to be affected by it," Ms Young said. "He's a pretty tremendous guy."

"He was gorgeous and charming," Ms O'Connor added.

Harrison and three school friends opted for Fiji as a safer alternative to the Gold Coast.

Mr Elmore said reports Harrison had died playing a breathing game in the pool were purely speculative.

"I haven't been told that and the family hasn't been told that," he said.

The travel company that booked the schoolies' trip to Fiji described the death as a "tragic accident".

"The parents of the teenager involved in the tragic accident at Plantation Island Resort have been notified and all other guests are safe and well, being well cared for during this unfortunate time," Unleashed Travel said on its Facebook.

Fiji police could not confirm reports the teenager had been playing a hold-your-breath dare game before he died.

‘‘All I know is that he went into the pool and didn’t come out,’’ the spokesman said.

The police spokesman said there were about 500 schoolies staying on the island, and they were holding nightly parties between 7pm and 5am.

News Limited reports the teen may have been taking part in a "breath dare'' game - where participants compete to hold their breath underwater - when tragedy struck.

In a statement, a DFAT spokesperson said: ‘‘We can confirm the death of a 17-year-old male from Queensland in Fiji overnight.’’

According to a recent college newsletter, Harrison contributed to the creation of a new sporting motto "TEAM MORE – Together, Everyone, Achieves, More”.

"This motto you will see around the college for many years to come," the newsletter read.

It’s the second schoolies death during this year’s celebrations after Brisbane school leaver Isabelle Colman, 17, fell to her death from the 26th floor of the Chevron Renaissance apartment tower at Surfers Paradise late last month.

‘‘From a school perspective, the community is shocked,’’ Brisbane Catholic Education spokesman John Phelan said of the latest tragedy.

‘‘He was a good role model and an outstanding young man.’’ 

- with Bridie Jabour and AAP