Mum's second heartbreak after son dies in drowning tragedy

The mum of a boy who drowned while on a school camp has been delivered another heartbreaking blow less than a week after the death of her son.

Cooper Onyett, 8, died last Friday while at the Belfast Aquatics pool in Port Fairy, in Victoria's southwest, where he was visiting with his grade two class from Merrivale Primary School in Warrnambool, Nine reported.

As if his mum Skye Meinen had not already suffered enough, his large memorial planned for Friday will now likely be subject to the tough restrictions announced by Victorian health authorities on Thursday.

Cooper Onyett pictured.
Cooper Onyett drowned during a school trip to a pool last week. Source: GoFundMe

Without an exemption, the Warrnambool funeral, set to go ahead at 11am (local time), will have a maximum capacity of 10 people, not including staff.

Ms Meinen told 3AW radio on Thursday she was hoping to "gain some sort of exemption" to allow the community to attend.

"We've got a whole school that's mourning for a friend," she told host Neil Mitchell, adding that the family needed the community around them for support at such a tragic time.

"We really need support from family and friends to get through this," she said.

"We've all been so strong and to rip away the support that we've really opened to is just something that I just think would be detrimental."

Cooper Onyett pictured with his brother.
Cooper's family have been crushed for a second time after new Covid restrictions were announced the day before the funeral. Source: Nine

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino acknowledged on Thursday that he was aware of Ms Meinen's case and had discussed the matter with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

"This is a particularly tragic case ... it is every parent's worst nightmare. Giving your kids a kiss, they are excited to go off to camp, and then we have this tragic incident," Mr Merlino said.

"What I can say is we've got the settings in terms of funerals, which is a maximum of 10, but I've asked, I've already indicated and had a discussion with professor Sutton that I'll ask the public health team to get in touch with the mum."

A GoFundMe account established to help pay for funeral expenses and support the grieving family had by Thursday evening raised more than $95,000, including a sole anonymous donation of $50,000.

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