Queensland freediving death: Mum in tribute to son
THE mother of a Kiwi teenager who died while freediving in Australia at the weekend says her son had a passion for diving and spearfishing and "was one of those kids that everyone loved".
Sam Brown, 19, was freediving at Hutchison Shoal, north of Cape Moreton, with three friends on Saturday about 7am, a Brisbane police spokeswoman said.
She said all the boys were taking turns at attempting to dive 30m underwater, and while they all made it to the surface, Mr Brown then went back under.
"They all came back up but then the deceased blacked out and went back under the water, [his friends] have then gone back under to retrieve him."
Mr Brown moved to the Gold Coast in 2007 with his parents and two brothers, but grew up in Greenhithe on the North Shore. He attended Takapuna Primary School.
Yesterday, his mother, Maree Hutton, said her son "was one of those kids that everyone loved".
Ms Hutton said her son was a "Kiwi born and bred" and had always loved sports.
"In New Zealand he was really into rugby ... and he was also really good at basketball."
However, since making the move to Australia, he had become an "obsessed surfer", who also loved to spearfish, she said.
"Of late he was obsessed with spearfishing, and freediving and catching fish."
His love of the water brought him back to New Zealand two years ago, where he competed in the National Surfing Championships at Piha, where his family have a bach.
Despite his efforts to be a professional surfer, he had recently started studying to become a primary school teacher, his mother said.
"He loved it."
She said he was an amazing guy with a huge amount of friends.
"He was just one of those kids that everyone loved, to be honest. Just a nice person.
"People that know Sam all say the same thing - he is just a lovely kid - always caring, sensible, just a nice teenager."
Ms Hutton said her son was a "high achiever".
"Everyone will tell you he always used to do the best at everything. But he would never show it and wasn't cocky. He was very self-driven."
Mr Brown played rugby for Marist North Harbour as a halfback, and also represented North Harbour at national basketball competitions.
Marist North Harbour club chairman Tony Mullins said he was a good team player and "an integral part of the team".
"We are very heartbroken that a young lad has been taken so early. A promising sportsman taken before his time."