December 17th, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of a major swimming disaster in Australia. Approximately 50 years ago, then Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt was presumed to have drowned after going out for a swim on Cheviot Beach near Melbourne. No body was found, so it is presumed that he simply drowned while swimming.
People on the beach that day reported high tides and rip currents. The Australian Prime Minister decided to continue swimming despite the deteriorating conditions at sea. Those who were with him on the beach say they saw the water overtake him. After they lost sight of him they never saw him again.
Despite a frantic search effort, Harold Holt’s body has never been found. While he is officially presumed to have drowned while swimming, there are numerous other theories that exist. Some say he was kidnapped at sea by the Russians or Chinese.
Harold Holt was known to be a swimmer and had recently had shoulder surgery. His doctor even had warned him to rest and not do anything strenuous. It most plausible that the prime minister simply drowned rather than be kidnapped. The more extreme theories to Holt’s disappearance while swimming at sea include him being a spy who boarded a submarine to China or Russia that day.
Australian’s have commemorated the 50th anniversary of the sudden disappearance of their Prime Minister with a ceremony that included Holt’s family and the current prime minister. A swimming pool was also named after Harold Holt. Let’s just hope that nobody shares the same fate as he did in his pool.