Devastated dad’s gas sniffing death warning
For many Port Lincoln teenagers, learning how to surf at Fishery Bay is a rite of passage.
It's one though that 16-year-old Paddy Ryan now will never fulfil, laments his grieving family.
Paddy died from Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome last month after inhaling gas from a 9kg BBQ gas bottle, similar to those commonly found in most South Australian backyards.
Witness accounts say the perfectly fit and healthy footballer fell unconscious within minutes of inhaling the gas for a thrill with his mates at one of his first teen house parties a few streets from his family home.
The state coroner's post mortem provisional cause of death is 'cardiac arrhythmia due to propane gas inhalation'.
It was Paddy's second time inhaling the gas, it has since been revealed - as has the popularity of "gassing", which is continuing in the Eyre Peninsula town and right across Australia even after the widespread news of his tragic death on February 9. Paddy's family want mandatory warning labels that 'inhalation may cause death' on all BBQ gas bottles across Australia. Current rules only require warnings of flammability and volatility under pressure on LPG-filled gas bottles.
A change.org petition in Paddy's name is calling on the state and federal governments to take immediate action.
It's amassed more than 1700 signatures since being launched on Monday.
"If there had been a warning label on that gas bottle (used by Paddy and his friends) we wouldn't be having this conversation," said Paddy's father Adrian Ryan. "And while I acknowledge that a label on a bottle is not going to stop everyone, it could save lives."
Mr Ryan, a father of four, said Paddy was a risk-averse teen who would not have inhaled the gas had he known it could kill him.
"We knew nothing about gassing until that night - I'd never heard of it," he said.
"Now we do know, we need to alert other parents and youth to the risks. We never had the chance to talk to Paddy about it because we just didn't know."
Mr Ryan said his six-foot-tall son had everything to live for. Paddy was a talented footballer with Marble Range and a Boston Tigers basketball player, he was learning to surf and about to start his first casual job.
"I was teaching him how to drive," said Mr Ryan.
If you or anyone you know is at risk of harm call the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. In an emergency call triple-0.