Maureen Eddison in blue
A NURSE who devoted much of her career to improving the lives of children born with facial deformities has been identified as one of two Australians to die on idyllic southeast Asian beaches in the New Year.
Maureen Eddison, 55, of St Kilda in Melbourne, had been snorkelling with five family members at Nusa Lembongan in Bali on New Year’s Day when she felt tired and ill.
She was taken by boat to the shore and then driven to a community health centre but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Klungkung Waters Police chief, Putu Ardana, said Mrs Eddison was breathing heavily after about 45 minutes of snorkelling.
“In the car, the family had given artificial breathing as her face (was) turning pale, and (she was) vomiting,” said Mr Ardana.
“But when (she) arrive(d) in the health centre, she has died.”
A post-mortem revealed Mrs Eddison died from lack of oxygen.
A director and team leader with Operation Restore Hope, Mrs Eddison spent nearly 20-years co-ordinating volunteer teams of medical and nursing staff to provide facial surgery for needy children in the Philippines.
In 2014, she was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the international community, and yesterday workmates and friends paid tribute on the Operation Restore Hope Facebook page.
Maureen Eddison and her husband Simon in a photo from her Facebook page.
Plastic surgeon, Dr Daryl Hodgkinson said Mrs Eddison would be sorely missed by the Operation Restore Hope family.
“Maureen worked tirelessly over the last 20 years to help these underprivileged children born with cleft lip and palate,” said Dr Hodgkinson.
Another colleague, Cheryl Box, said her sudden death was “an incredible loss for all of humanity”.
“Her energy, love of life and generous giving nature touched us all,” said Ms Box.
“We will miss you so very much Maus.”
Another Australian who drowned while swimming off a beach in Koh Samui, Thailand, was yet to be identified late yesterday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the death of an Australian man but, out of respect for his family, would not yet release his name.
He was the second person to drown at Chaweng beach on Saturday.
A Chinese national also died and two others were injured at the beach which is signed with “no swimming” warnings, and red flags.
Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular areas, hosting 29 million foreign visitors last year.
Despite the country’s tourist appeal, Thailand remains the most dangerous place for holidaying Aussies.
In 2014-15, 146 Australians died in Thailand and 163 were hospitalised. Bali had the second highest number of deaths with 87 and 124 hospitalisations.
Source : News AU