Sandbar party organisers have shirked responsibility after backlash

Organisers of the wild Aussie beach party that made national headlines have hit back at criticisms saying they have no control over what other people do.

Organisers of the Sandbar party have responded to criticism saying “we have no control over what other people do” after being slammed over the event.

The party on a sandbar in Cullen Bay, Darwin, made news across the country after hundreds of revellers partied on a Darwin sandbar near croc-infested waters.

About 600 people attended the event for a few hours before emergency services were called as the tide rose.

NT Water Police Acting Senior Sergeant Andrew Hocking said his officers were horrified by what they saw when they went to the sandbar.

“(There were) overloaded boats, no safety gear. They had boats capsizing, people in the water, lots of drunken activity. (There were also) fights, alleged assaults taking place,” he said.

One man was hospitalised after an alleged assault and police seized 300 litres of alcohol. NT Police said the event put lives at risk.

Many commenters on social media condemned the revellers. However people commented it was good to see others having fun.

However, one of the organisers said they were not responsible for patrons‘ actions.

“The media outlets are trying to make us look bad so here’s some fax (sic). The sandbar is actually a fundraiser has raised almost 100k for charity over the years!,” DJ and organiser Faith Von Lit wrote on Facebook.

“We ensured that ALL rubbish was taken off the Sandbar. We had a Covid check in barcode that we encouraged people to use and a Covid safety plan. We had extra food, water, rubbish bags and sunblock. We had first aid on hand. Numerous local businesses donated items for the fundraising efforts.

“We made it super clear that everyone was responsible for their own way on and off the sandbar and stopped the music over an hour and a half early so that people could start getting off. We hired a boat to do extra free trips off the sandbar to make sure everyone got off in time. Everyone did make it off the Sandbar safely, and we stayed around to make sure.

“In regards to the marine safety issues, we have no control over what other people do and they are responsible for their own boating and marine safety just like they are any other day of the year.”

The event was initially praised by NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner who posted a video of the event on social media.

“You can’t do this in Bondi, but you can do this in Darwin. This is the reward for Covid Zero and hard borders – freedom and fun,” he said.

It came only a month after a three-day lockdown for Darwin and Katherine ended.

The lockdown was called after a person from Sydney travelled to the NT and tested positive for Covid-19. There were almost 100 close contacts from the one case.

The territory is allowing people who have not been in a hot spot in the last 14 days to return or visit.

The region has largely been untouched by Covid and normality has mostly returned.

The NT has only recorded 204 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

Sixty-seven per cent of adults have now received their first dose of a vaccine, and 50 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The territory has administered more than 233,000 total vaccinations since February this year.


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