Billy Slater rocked by family tragedy after brother-in-law dies trying to save daughter

The beloved husband and father has been identified as the NRL legend's brother-in-law.

A father-of-four who drowned in Mackay last weekend has been identified as the brother-in-law of NRL great Billy Slater. Ryan Craig's body was found by police in Kinchant Dam on Monday morning after he went missing after going into the water on Saturday.

Mr Craig, who is married to Slater's sister Sheena, was on the water with his wife and four kids when he and his nine-year-old daughter went into the water. Police said early indications suggest Mr Craig jumped into the water to try and rescue his daughter after she was thrown overboard.

Ryan Craig and Billy Slater.
Ryan Craig (L) is the brother-in-law of Billy Slater (R). Image: 7News/Getty

The girl was rescued but Mr Craig couldn't immediately be located. His body was found by police at 7am on Monday after an extensive search operation.

Inspector Glenn Cameron said police haven't determined the full circumstances surrounding the tragedy, but “preliminary information” suggests “the actions of the man who is now deceased saved his young daughter’s life." Inspector Cameron said the Craig family is “devastated”.

Billy Slater's brother-in-law tried to rescue daughter

According to 7News, Mr Craig jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue his daughter after she went overboard. A jet-skier who was in the vicinity helped save the nine-year-old girl, and she was taken to Mackay Base Hospital as a precaution.

“We do implore people to be as safe as possible on the water,” Cameron said. “Enjoy the environment, but do it in a safe way.

“Our thoughts are with the family who’ve lost a loved one in these tragic circumstances. We never want to see something like this happen.”

Police at Kinchant Dam near Mackay.
Police recovered Mr Craig's body from Kinchant Dam near Mackay. Image: 7News

Mr Craig's wife and the other three children were all unharmed. Police will now prepare a report for the coroner.


The news will come as a devastating blow for Slater and wife Nicole, as well as the rest of Mr Craig's extended family. Slater played 323 NRL games for the Melbourne Storm, as well as 31 State of Origin matches for Queensland and 30 Tests for Australia.

Billy Slater with wife Nicole, sister Sheena and brother-in-law Ryan Craig.
Billy Slater (second from right) with wife Nicole (far left), sister Sheena (far right) and brother-in-law Ryan Craig (second from left). Image: Sheena Craig/Facebook
Billy Slater and wife Nicole.
Ryan Craig is Billy Slater and wife Nicole's brother-in-law. (Getty Images)

He is now the Maroons' State of Origin coach and a pundit with Channel 9. The 40-year-old has led Queensland to back-to-back victories over NSW in his two State of Origin series in charge of the Maroons.

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