The family of a British student who drowned on the Great Barrier Reef are suing a boat firm in a bid for answers after three painful years.
Tashfeen Mirza, 20, died while on a group snorkelling trip 30 miles off Cairns, Australia.
He was a capable swimmer and his family want to know how he could drift off without being noticed. They also claim there was a delay in launching a search after a pal raised the alarm.
Tashfeen’s brother Janaed, 25, said: “He was a decent swimmer and loved being in water. How can someone snorkelling just disappear? After three years we still don’t know what happened.
“The conditions were great. There is no way Tash should have ended up a kilometre away without being noticed. Another boat was acting as a lookout but they clearly failed to see him.”
Tashfeen, who studied economics in his home city of Sheffield, was among dozens of tourists on the 60ft catamaran Reefkist when he vanished.
Official reports say he was last seen on board at 12.30pm on February 15, 2016. Trippers then went snorkelling near Briggs Reef, east of Fitzroy Island.
A search was launched when Tash did not return by 2pm and his body was found by a helicopter crew at 4.25pm.
His family are set to instruct lawyers to sue the Cairns Dive Centre. They claim some customers criticised safety briefings, which were reportedly difficult to hear, and noted the apparent lack of experience of some of the staff.
Janaed added: “He was with a friend, Dean, who felt uncomfortable in the water and got back on board. He could not see Tash and flagged it with staff.
“It was that company’s job to look out and protect Tash. This is not about money, it’s about standards. It’s too late for Tash but maybe we can help others.”
There is no obligation on Cairns Dive Company to attend a UK inquest.
South Yorkshire Coroner Christopher Dorries told a pre-inquest hearing: “We can ask them to co-operate. If they do not, we are stuck.
“My personal view is that they are unlikely to co-operate but I would be delighted to be proved wrong.”
Cairns Dive Centre did not comment.