Gifted Sunshine Coast doctor drowns in late-night tragedy
THE COAST'S medical fraternity is mourning the loss of one of their own after 27-year-old doctor Gemma Diessel was confirmed as the woman washed up on Dicky Beach.
Dr Diessel, a gifted doctor who'd researched the healing of stress fractures during her time studying at Griffith University, was found by surfer Stirling Harper early this morning.
She drowned and police investigating believe she'd gone swimming some time after midnight and got into trouble in the water.
Dr Diessel's family were notified this morning and her identity was confirmed by Queensland Police tonight.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adjunct Professor Naomi Dwyer expressed her sympathies towards Dr Diessel's family.
"Our sincere condolences go out to this young woman's family at this very sad time," Prof Dwyer said.
"We also want to support our staff who may be impacted by this very sad and unexpected news.
"We are providing counselling and support for her peers and colleagues via our confidential Employee Assistance Program."
The Sunshine Coast University Hospital doctor's death was not being treated as suspicious, although police were searching for the young doctor's phone as they believed it may hold some answers as to what happened prior to her drowning.
Caloundra Police Senior Sergeant Matt Campbell described the phone as a "really pertinent piece of evidence we are seeking".
"As you can imagine that prior to an incident like this, any kinds of communication with anyone will give us a lot better insight into what happened," Sen-Sgt Campbell said.
Mr Harper found Dr Diessel's body washed ashore on the high tide mark, near the bottom of the stairs at Lower Neill St, Dicky Beach.
"It was pretty shocking," he said.
Mr Harper said he quickly rang 000 and went to check on the woman, but couldn't feel a pulse.
He said police and lifeguards quickly arrived and covered up Dr Diessel's body, as she'd been swimming in a black bikini.
Police said southerly tides had been running last night, which suggested Dr Diessel may have entered the water north of Caloundra, possibly along the Currimundi stretch or even as far north as Kawana.
"My sympathies go out to the family, just a horrible, horrible incident," Sen-Sgt Campbell said.
Floral tributes were laid at the scene and many beachgoers were pausing to pay their respects yesterday afternoon.
Detectives were investigating, although her death was not being treated as suspicious as police believe Dr Diessel got into trouble in the water and a report was being prepared for the coroner.