“Obviously our hearts are breaking”

THE Brisbane teenager who died during schoolies celebrations in Fiji has been remembered by his family as a "beautiful, kind, well-respected and fun-loving young man".

Harrison Kadell, 17, drowned in a pool at the Plantation Island Resort at 4am (local time) on Tuesday.

He was one of about 500 Australian schoolies partying on Plantation Island as part of a trip organised by Unleashed Travel.

In a statement released on Wednesday morning, Harrison's parents said they were proud of their son and "grateful that he was with us for almost 18 years".

"Obviously, our hearts are breaking," they said.

"Sadly, many parents know the grief of losing a child, but some couples live with the pain of not being able to have one.

"We had the privilege and felt the joy of Harrison being a part of our family."

Harrison's parents said they felt "truly blessed" by the support shown to them by family and friends.

They singled out the Australian and Fijian governments, Queensland Police, Air Pacific, Virgin Pacific and law firm Kalyan Lawyers for their help.

The family also asked for privacy.

"Our concern now is for Harrison's mates still here in Fiji as well as returning our son home to Australia," the statement read.

Meanwhile, the principal of St Thomas More College, where Harrison was vice-captain this year, wrote to parents on Tuesday after learning of the tragedy.

Peter Elmore said the news had come as a "tremendous shock" to the school community.

"As a community we have watched Harrison grow as a student, a leader and a young man.

"Harrison was an exceptional young man and his loss will be deeply felt by our community," Mr Elmore wrote.

"We particularly remember Lachlan, in Year 10 and his sister, Jordan, a past student of the college. We especially recognise that Harrison's peers in Year 12 will be shocked and saddened by this news. We extend to them an invitation to gather for support in our college chapel."

The school is offering counselling to its students.

Investigations into Harrison's death are continuing.

Topics:  death fiji schoolies

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