A young woman’s life has been tragically cut short after drowning in a public swimming pool on Christmas morning in her hometown Orbost, a few hours east of Melbourne.
20-year-old Cheydan Barr, an aspiring midwife and former school captain, was swimming with friends in the early hours of Christmas morning before becoming trapped underneath a pool cover.
Friends found Cheydan around 3am, and while emergency services were called and attempts made to revive her, she died at the scene.
She was in her final year of studying midwifery and nursing at Monash University.
While an immediate member of the family told The Age that they were not yet ready to speak about their heartbreaking loss, it has been said that Cheydan was a beautiful, vibrant person.
“We are still in the process of grieving a very beautiful person that we miss very much,” a relative told the publication.
The East Gippsland Shire Mayor, Marianne Pelz, has expressed how the terrible accident has left the entire community distraught.
“Most people in Orbost know that family,” she said. “They have lived in Orbost forever… they were fourth or fifth generation.”
Ms Pelz, who has lived in the area for over 23 years, watched Cheydan grow up.
“My children grew up with her, they went to school together… they were all friends,” she said.
“She was such a nice girl and it is really unjustified what has happened to her.”
“It would be really difficult one for them to process… was so unexpected.”
According to Ms Pelz, 2016 was going to be Cheydan’s final year at university, and she believed the young woman would have made a “fantastic nurse”.
It is believed the young woman got into the public pool after a Christmas Eve street party at the town, where temperatures were uncomfortably high.
“It was such a hot night… I believe they snuck into the pool,” she said.
“I think they probably got excited and because it was such a hot night they decided to have a swim.
“I think that something that seemed to be quite fun at the time just took a turn for the worse.”
Meanwhile, loved ones have taken to social media to express their heartbreak and sincere condolences.
“May your infectious smile live on through your beautiful family & friends. Your fun loving nature will be dearly missed and our friendship is something I will treasure forever,” one friend wrote.
A spokeswoman from Monash University said they were “saddened by the tragic news”.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Cheydan’s family and friends,” she said.
A report will be prepared by police for a coroner.