Family shattered by Coast drowning of medical graduate

 

POLICE are hoping the missing phone belonging to a Gold Coast doctor who drowned off a Sunshine Coast beach will hold the key as to how she died.

Gemma Diessel, a Griffith University graduate working on the Sunshine Coast, was found lifeless on Dicky Beach by a surfer early Thursday morning.

Police believe the 27-year-old had gone swimming some time after midnight and got into trouble in the water.

It is believed Dr Diessel may have been with friends before deciding to take the late-night dip.

Sunshine Coast University Hospital doctor Gemma Diessel drowned during a late-night swim off Currimundi. Her body was found at Dicky Beach the next morning.
Sunshine Coast University Hospital doctor Gemma Diessel drowned during a late-night swim off Currimundi. Her body was found at Dicky Beach the next morning.

Dr Diessel's death is not being treated as suspicious. However, police are looking for her phone as a key piece of evidence.

Caloundra Police Senior Sergeant Matt Campbell described the phone as a "really pertinent piece of evidence we are seeking".

"As you can imagine that prior to an incident like this, any kinds of communication with anyone will give us a lot better insight into what happened."

Dr Diessel's family were notified yesterday and her identity was confirmed by Queensland Police last night.

Her Gold Coast father did not want to talk last night.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adjunct Professor Naomi Dwyer expressed her sympathies towards Dr Diessel's family.

"Our sincere condolences go out to this young woman's family at this very sad time," Prof Dwyer said.

Gemma and Tanya Diessel in 2011 for the Gold Coast Bikni Parade
Gemma and Tanya Diessel in 2011 for the Gold Coast Bikni Parade

"We also want to support our staff who may be impacted by this very sad and unexpected news.

"We are providing counselling and support for her peers and colleagues via our confidential Employee Assistance Program."

It is understood Dr Diessel grew up in Worongary.

Last year, sister Tanya Diessel posted to social media that she was proud of her younger sister after she passed all her exams after nine years of studying.

"I now have a doctor as a little sister," she wrote.

"So proud of you."

Dr Diessel also entered the Mudgeeraba Showgirl competition with her sister in 2009, and the world-record Gold Coast Bikini Parade two years later.

Gemma Diessel drowned at Dicky Beach.
Gemma Diessel drowned at Dicky Beach.

She told the Bulletin at the time that her friends wanted to also take part in the parade and she was hoping to do it the following year as well.

Police said southerly tides had been running last night, which suggested Dr Diessel may have entered the water north of Caloundra, possibly along the Currimundi stretch or even as far north as Kawana.

"My sympathies go out to the family, just a horrible, horrible incident," Sen-Sgt Campbell said.

Stirling Harper made the grisly discovery about 5am.

Mr Harper said he quickly rang triple-0 and went to check on Dr Diessel, but couldn't feel a pulse.

He said police and lifeguards quickly arrived and covered up Dr Diessel, who was wearing a black two-piece swimsuit.

Floral tributes have been left at the scene.