'Challenging time': Hotel's message after lamington death
A WOMAN has died after choking on a lamington during a lamington-eating competition in a bizarre Australia Day tragedy at Hervey Bay.
The woman, 60, is believed to have suffered a seizure after choking on the iconic Australian cake at the Beach House Hotel in Scarness, Hervey Bay, about 2pm on Sunday.
She was given CPR and taken to Hervey Bay Hospital but could not be revived.
Management of the Beach House, where the woman died during the contest, released a statement on Monday morning.
In it, staff from the establishment honoured the "professional response" from everyone involved in the ordeal.
"The management and staff of the Beach House Hotel offer our deepest condolences to the friends and family of one of our patrons following the tragic event at our venue on Australia Day.
"We acknowledge and thank our supportive patrons, staff, and the Queensland Ambulance Service for their prompt and professional response while this tragic incident was unfolding.
"The hotel staff have been offered professional support while our thoughts firmly remain with the family at this challenging time."
Witnesses have told of their horror as they watched the event unfold.
One woman, Della Firth, said on Facebook that she believed the woman was "mentally challenged", after having spoken to her prior to the event.
"This lady shovelled the lamington into her mouth with no restraint … inhaled the coconut and arrested," she wrote.
"The pub was very quick to respond with CPR and the ambulance rocked up soon but working on her over half a hour (sic) it didn't look good."
Another witness, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she was filming the competition and was one of the first to call emergency services when she realised the woman was choking.
"My friend was in the competition opposite the lady," she said.
"I was filming and just as my friend finished I noticed she was dribbling so I rang 000 as she fell to the ground. I was talking to 000 until they arrived.
"The manager and security and a friend of mine worked on her until then.
"They put a sheet up around her and worked on her for at least another half an hour.
"They shocked her a few times and were still doing CPR as they took her out about 30 to 40 minutes later."
She said the dead woman had been selling earrings at the pub earlier in the day.
Another witness apologised on Facebook to a woman who said she was related to the victim.
"We were there and we are so very sorry for your loss," Tony Field said.
"We did all we could do but it wasn't enough. Just so sorry and sad. And in disbelief."
In a Facebook post from last week, a local business promoted the lamington-eating competition.
"Grab your mates and head down to the Beach House Hotel on Sunday 26th of January for their annual lamington and pie-eating competition!"