The death of a young Melbourne man in a Gold Coast canal while on holidays with footy mates has been described as an “enormous loss”.
Mitchell Celantano, 21, drowned after entering a Broadbeach canal at about 5.30am on Tuesday.
He went underwater and failed to resurface before his body was recovered by police divers some three hours later.
Celantano was holidaying with a group of about 10 other people, including friends who also play at his Australian Rules club, the East Keilor Football Club.
The club, which has strong inter-generational ties to his family, has led the tributes for the “popular” young man.
“The East Keilor Football Club family has suffered an enormous loss with the passing of Mitchell,” a post on the club’s Facebook page read.
“Mitch was a popular player and member of our club and his passing will leave a void across many generations of our EKFC family.
“Our love and thoughts are with the Celantano family and also the lads that were with Mitch on the Gold Coast at this very difficult time.”
It is unknown what prevented Celantano from resurfacing, and why he went into the water.
Police say he was with two other friends at the time.
Whether drugs or alcohol played a part in the tragedy is being investigated.
Acting Superintendent Greg Baade said members of Celantano’s group were “very distressed”.
“They were here on holidays on the Gold Coast and for this to happen is just an absolute tragedy,” he said on Tuesday.
“They’re very upset.”
Arrangements are being made to return his body to Victoria.