Billy Slater rocked by family tragedy as relative dies trying to save daughter’s life


Billy Slater has suffered a shocking family tragedy after his brother-in-law drowned while saving his daughter’s life when she fell from their boat in Queensland last weekend.

A man found dead two days after he and his daughter were thrown overboard from a boat has been identified as Ryan Craig.

Craig, the husband of Slater’s older sister Sheena, died in Kinchant Dam near Mackay on Saturday.

The nine-year-old girl was pulled safely from the water but Craig’s body was not found until Monday morning.

Police say the girl was pulled from the water by a person on a passing jet ski. The mother and three other children all safely made it to shore.

Craig, 40, was a father of four children with wife Sheena.

Queensland Police has not released the full circumstances surrounding his death but Seven News reports Craig and his daughter were thrown overboard around 11am on Saturday.

She was rescued half an hour later in the water, but efforts to find Craig were unsuccessful. His body was recovered at around 7am on Monday.

Ryan Craig’s final actions saved the life of his 9 year old daughter.Source: News Corp Australia

Queensland Police Inspector Glenn Cameron said “preliminary information” suggests “the actions of the man who is now deceased saved his young daughter’s life”.

He said the Craig family is “devastated”.

“We do implore people to be as safe as possible on the water,” Cameron said.

“Enjoy the environment, but do it in a safe way.

“Our thoughts are with the family who’ve lost a loved one in these tragic circumstances.

“We never want to see something like this happen.”

Loving husband and father of four Ryan Craig passed away on Saturday March 9 after saving his daughter from drowning.Source: News Corp Australia
Billy Slater’s brother-in-law has died. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Water and police divers searched the area before Craig’s body was found on Monday morning following a “significant” search and rescue operation.

The Craig family are from North Eton in Mackay. Queensland police will prepare a report for the coroner.

Slater grew up in Innisfail, around 90km south of Cairns in Queensland.

Slater won two premierships with the Melbourne Storm and has successfully transitioned into coaching, leading the Queensland Maroons to consecutive State of Origin series wins in the past two years.

He played 31 games for the Maroons and 30 matches for Australia.


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