Katelyn Taylor.
Katelyn Taylor.

Man in coma could hold key to Katelyn's drowning

KATELYN Taylor's Sunshine Coast adventure was only just beginning when it was tragically cut short.

The 19-year-old drowned in rough surf off Marcoola Beach in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Katelyn had only just moved to the Coast from Launceston in Tasmania to study at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Family and friends paid tribute yesterday to a "beautiful and caring" person.

"It all still feels like a bad dream," her cousin Melissa Chamberlain wrote on Facebook.

"You were the most amazing, beautiful and passionate person that I have had the pleasure of knowing.

"It has been an honour to watch you grow into the beautiful young woman you became.

"You inspired us all to reach for our dreams and never give up. You will be loved and missed every day."

Katelyn Taylor
Katelyn Taylor

Police say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding Katelyn's death, although mystery surrounds her link to a 21-year-old New Zealand man she met in Mooloolaba hours earlier.

He was seriously injured in a single-vehicle crash at Marcoola about 3am, about the same time Katelyn was said to have entered the water.

Police said the man lost control of his car on a left hand bend and crashed into a parked vehicle.

He was airlifted by the RACQ CareFlight Helicopter to Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Senior Sgt Hardy Wirth, from Coolum Police, said they were waiting for the driver to wake from a coma to interview him.

The coastline has been hammered by dangerous seas for several days as a result of ex-Tropical Cyclone Lucy.

Swell peaked at 1.5m-1.8 metres on Sunday morning.