Pullin's death a sad day for winter sports

Darren CartwrightAAP
Winter Olympian and world champion snowboarder Alex Pullin, 32, has died while spearfishing.
Camera IconWinter Olympian and world champion snowboarder Alex Pullin, 32, has died while spearfishing.

A specialist police dive team has scoured the waters where dual world champion snowboarder Alex Pullin died while spearfishing along an artificial reef off Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.

Pullin was dragged from the water unconscious around 10.40am on Wednesday and paramedics spent 45 minutes trying to revive him.

An investigation into his death is underway, with a report to be prepared for the coroner, says Gold Coast District Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler.

He said the 32-year-old's family would be kept informed of their investigation.

"It was an extremely tragic set of circumstances and our hearts go out to Alex's family and friends and loved ones," he said.

"We had specialist police attend the scene; we had our police dive squad attend that scene.

"We will prepare a report for the coroner in due course and we will engage with the family to keep them up to date."

He said they were trying to determine if Pullin's death was preventable.

"We want to determine why it happened, whether there are underlying medical conditions and whether there has been a miscalculation by someone or something," Supt Wheeler said.

"And what we want to do is give closure to the family, give the family answers and really important to see there is anything systemic to prevent it from happening again."

Pullin's partner Ellidy Vlug called him a "beautiful man"in a note she left for the media on the front door of the Gold Coast home they bought in 2018.

"Dear media," she wrote. "Thank you for your thoughts, this is a very difficult time for me and I ask that you respect my privacy during this period of grief.

"Know that Chumpy absolutely loved life and lived life to the full.

"He lived for us - his family, our puppy Rummi, our amazing friends and the home we made together.

"He was living his dream, our dream.

"I am eternally grateful that I have lived my life with him and I am deeply saddened that his life has been cut short.

"Rest in peace my beautiful man.

"Kind regards, Ellidy."

Australia's veteran Winter Olympic chef de mission has described the dual world champion snowboarder as a natural leader and called his death "an incredibly sad day".

Pullin was the flag-bearer for Australia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Known affectionately as Chumpy, Pullin won world championship titles in 2011 and 2013, and nine World Cup gold medals.

He was raised in the foothills of the Victorian Alps in Mansfield, the support town for the Mt Buller ski resort which posted a tribute on its official Facebook page.

His parents owned and ran a ski shop in Mansfield and, according to his website, he learnt to ski at the age of three.

He took up snowboarding when he was eight.

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