Mother suing after son dies from suspected snake bite on school trip

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The mother of a seven-year-old boy who died from a suspected snake bite on an excursion in Melbourne’s outer east is suing the Victorian Government and a camp operator

Junpeng Tan suffered a cardiac arrest on a trip to the Belgrave Recreational Reserve with grade one classmates from Rowville Primary School in October 2013.

Maurice Blackburn — the firm representing Junpeng’s mother, Xiaoying Tan — said teachers attempted to resuscitate the boy before he died at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

“The pathologist who conducted the autopsy concluded that while there was no evidence of any injury that would have contributed or led to death, ‘it seems reasonable to determine that this unfortunate young fellow has succumbed to a snake bite’,” a statement from the firm said.

In documents lodged with Victoria’s County Court, Ms Tan alleges the school and the owners of the Mount Morton Camp and Conference Centre were negligent in their supervision of her son and breached their duty of care.

Death left mother with depressive order, PTSD

Ms Tan has suffered from a major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, shock and anxiety since her son’s death, the court documents said.

She is suing for injuries, loss of earnings and loss of earnings capacity.

Maurice Blackburn public safety lawyer Dimi Ioannou, who is representing Ms Tan, said her client was devastated.

“We allege that the school failed to adequately supervise, protect and take proper care of Junpeng,” Ms Ioannou said.

“We also allege that the operators of the camp failed to ensure as far as was reasonably practicable that the premises was safe and without risks or hazards that were likely to cause unnecessary injury or death.” Ms Tan and her son moved to Australia from China only two months before he died.

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