23 Jun 2014

Nauru govt says refugee drowning an accident

4:06 pm on 23 June 2014

The Nauru government says it is devastated at the loss of a refugee who drowned on Sunday and it has commended those who tried to rescue him.

Full details are yet to be released but in a statement the government has described the drowning as accidental and it has extended its sympathy to the families involved.

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Photo: RNZ

Two local Nauruans attempted to rescue the man who had been resettled after gaining refugee status under Australia's offshore asylum seeker processing policy.

One of the rescuers also drowned in the incident and another local remains in a serious condition.

The government says it hopes there is no attempt to gain political mileage from a tragic event.

The first asylum seekers found to be refugees were resettled in Nauru in May after being detained in asylum seeker camps set up under Australia's much-criticised offshore processing policy.

They have since been free to move around the island, find jobs and be part of the community.