A devastated friend who watched on in horror as a father and son drowned at a popular waterfall has opened up about the horror ordeal.

Sisira Gajanayake, 59, and his son, Themiya Gajanayake, 21, were both pulled from the water unresponsive at Crystal Cascade swimming hole, about 20km west of Cairns in far north Queensland, about 5pm on Tuesday.

Tragically Sisira, a bus driver from Dandenong east of Melbourne, died at the scene while Themiya was rushed to hospital but could not be revived.

Family friend Nakula Premaratine said the tragedy unfolded when conditions rapidly changed.

‘We all went for a swim and then suddenly the water level (went) up and his son jumped in to save him,’ he told 9News. 

‘But unfortunately, they both couldn’t be saved.’ 

Fatrher Sisira Gajanayake (pictured left) and son Themiya Gajanayake (pictured right) both died after being pulled unresponsive out of a popular Queensland swimming spot

Mr Premaratine was a work friend of Sisira at Melbourne’s Ventura bus company and they were part of a group with two other colleagues who had all brought their families on the trip. 

Sisira was described by Mr Premaratine as a ‘very kind-hearted person’.

‘He was (always) helping everyone,’ he said.

‘It’s a very big shock for the Sri Lankan community.’

Don Ranawaka, another of Sisira’s workmates, said just hours before the tragedy the Gajanayakes had taken a family photo with the proud father, mother and their three children.

‘The last photo they took as a family, they sent around 12pm,’ he said.

Mr Ranawaka described Sisira as a ‘very good work colleague and very friendly to everyone.’

‘We was a very nice, friendly gentleman. A very popular guy. Still no one can believe this happened,’ Mr Ranawaka said.

‘Even the son is a very outstanding guy, just 21.’

Mr Ranawaka said the family was still in Queensland, waiting for the coroner’s report before they could take the pair home to Victoria.

Just hours before the tragedy Sisira Gajanayake (right centre) posed with his family for this happy holiday shot

Tributes for the father and son poured in on Facebook. 

Jude Fernando described Mr Gajanayake as ‘one of the most beautiful, loving brothers for almost 40 years’.

‘Heard very shocking news yesterday evening. Good hearted and loving people gone too soon. May the lovely friend and lovely son attain Nibbana,’ Mr Fernando posted on Facebook.

Friend Jagath Balage said the sudden death was ‘very sad’.

‘Dear brother Sisira. The sudden demise of you and your beloved son is very sad to us, but brother, goodbye to you and your son,’ Mr Balage posted.

Ventura Bus company said that Sisira, who had worked there for eight years, was a ‘much loved’ man. 

‘We are deeply saddened to lose such a lovely member of the Ventura bus driving team. Sisira has worked for Ventura as a professional driver for over eight years and is much loved by our Sri Lankan employee community,’ Ventura managing director Andrew Cornwall said.

Emergency services attended the scene at around 5pm on Tuesday (pictured, Queensland Ambulance crews at the scene)

The two men were pulled unresponsive from the water at Crystal Cascade Waterfall, about 20km west of Cairns

‘Our thoughts are with Sisira’s family and his work colleagues from Melbourne that we holidaying with Sisira in Cairns at the time of this awful incident.’

Queensland Police said officers were called to the swimming spot in Lamb Range on Tuesday after receiving reports that two men were struggling to get out of the water.

Their deaths are not considered as suspicious.

A Queensland Ambulance spokesperson said a woman was treated for emotional distress before she was taken to Cairns Hospital in a stable condition.

Queensland Police said a report would be prepared for the coroner.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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