Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Dinh Loi HO

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Dinh Loi HO

Delivered on : 28 March 2022

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Deputy State Coroner Linton

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary :  Mr Ho was last seen by his friends on the morning of 2 March 2020 near Sugarloaf rock in the Leeuwin-Naturalise National Park.  Mr Ho was walking along the reef area at about 6.30 am.  Mr Ho has not been seen or heard from since.  He was 30 years old.

Mr Ho came to Australia in 2013 by boat and sought asylum as a refugee.  He spent time in an immigration detention centre in Northam before being released to live in the community on a temporary protection visa on 20 November 2015, which was later extended on 22 August 2018.  Mr Ho’s family still lived in Vietnam but he had a number of good friends living in Australia.

On 2 March 2020 Mr Ho collected three of his friends and they began the drive to Dunsborough with a plan to go sightseeing and fishing.  Mr Ho intended to fish for abalone.    Mr Ho was believed to have gone abalone fishing at Sugarloaf Rock before.  Mr Ho and his friends parked at the main carpark at about 5.30am and walked down to the rocks to the water.  They walked for about kilometre before stopping at a location Mr Ho suggested would be suitable and commenced fishing for abalone at about 6.10 am with one of his friends.  They initially stood knee deep in the water, about three to four metres apart from each other.  As they fished, Mr Ho began to move south and the distance between them extended.  Eventually, they were about 10 to 15 metres apart.  Mr Ho’s friend then left the water and took some abalone he had caught to his friends on the shore.  Mr Ho remained in the water on his own and continued fishing.

When Mr Ho’s friends looked to the water from the shore they could not see Mr Ho.  Mr Ho’s three friends began to look for him.  After a period of time they decided to return to the carpark, in case Mr Ho had returned to the car, but there was no sign of him.  One friend stayed at the carpark while the others returned to the shore to keep looking for Mr Ho.  They then called the police to report Mr Ho as a missing person.

The Water Police based in Perth were notified at 9.22 am and began to coordinate an immediate emergency response, using available marine rescue resources and air support in the local area.  The SJA Rescue Helicopter was dispatched to the area and Surf life Saving WA were contacted and requested to bring jet skis to search the water, as well as some volunteer marine rescue vessels.  Searches continued until approximately 6.30 pm when the search was suspended due to failing light.  After three days of searching there were no sightings of Mr Ho and the search was concluded.

The Deputy State Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt Mr Ho is deceased and that he died around the time of his disappearance.  The Deputy State Coroner was unable to find how Mr Ho died but concluded that his death occurred by way of misadventure.  The Deputy State Coroner commented Mr Ho’s death was another example of a death that probably could have been prevented if he had worn appropriate safety gear and taken heed of the man.  It was noted that Mr Ho was unable to swim, which increased his risk in the water.  warning signs that had been placed to alert people to the known dangers of the Western Australia coastline.

Catch Words : Missing Person : Land and Air Search : Dangerous coastal recreational activities : Misadventure


Last updated: 18-Jul-2022

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