Overseas travel safe despite recent tragedies

Died in Bali ... Denni North.
Died in Bali ... Denni North.

AUSTRALIANS are travelling overseas like never before - increasingly to more distant and exotic places. Yet belying the recent spate of highly publicised deaths and injuries of Australians in other countries, statistics show travellers abroad are as safe as ever.

Just over a week ago, Denni North, 33, died after being found barely conscious by a pool in Bali. Liam Davies, 19, from Perth, died on Sunday after suffering methanol poisoning from a drink on Lombok. Sebastian Eric Faulkner, 21, fell or jumped to his death from the ninth floor of a hotel in Phuket on New Year's Day. And Perth father Paul Gill was recovering in intensive care after being stabbed on Friday during a robbery attempt in Bali.

Then, at the weekend, the mountain climbers Neal Davis, 35, and Adam Glen, 34, were lucky to survive a 200-metre fall on Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak.

''At any time when you get these terribly tragic cases, there's often a feeling in the community that things are getting worse but I don't know that there's enough evidence to back that up,'' the head of consular affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Justin Brown, said.

The number of instances where the government had to help families bury or fly home the bodies of loved ones who died overseas - 1138 cases - was down slightly last financial year compared with previous years.

The number of people helped during and after hospitalisation - 1265 cases - was lower than the average over the past five years.

The total number of consular cases under the broad heading ''Australians in difficulty'' in the department's annual report last financial year was 14,574 - by far the lowest of the past five years and barely half the 27,861 recorded in 2008-09.

And those numbers came in a year when there were 8.5 million departures by Australians - more than any previous year.

This story Overseas travel safe despite recent tragedies first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.