Pullin, 32, was the Australian flag bearer at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and competed in three Olympics in total. He was known as an experienced diver and had previously posted about his passion for spearfishing on social media.
“Paramedics were called to a post-immersion incident off Nineteenth Avenue at Palm Beach just after 10.30am,” said the Queensland Ambulance Service in a statement Wednesday. “One patient was treated at the scene.”
Pullin was known to frequent the popular swimming spot, reports CNN affiliate 9 News, and had previously gone spearfishing at an artificial reef located around 270 meters from shore.
Another diver found Pullin unconscious without an oxygen mask, Gold Coast Police District Duty Officer Chris Tritton told 9 News. Pullin appeared to be diving alone at the time, he added.
“We understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef,” said Tritton.
Pullin was unconscious when he was brought to shore, reports 9 News. Emergency services performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation for 45 minutes but couldn’t save his life.
On June 26, Pullin posted a picture of himself spearfishing on his Instagram account.
“Unreal day in the ocean! Whales singing & breaching all around us, hanging with great people, plus bringing home plenty of fish for the week,” wrote Pullin.
Tributes have flooded in for the popular two-time boardercross gold medalist at snowboarding world championships.
Snow Australia, the country’s organization for competitive skiing and snowboarding, said it was “shocked and saddened” by Pullin’s death.
“Our deepest condolences are with Alex’s family, as well as his team mates and support staff,” said Snow Australia in a statement on Instagram.
“Alex was a beloved member of the Snow Australia community and he will be dearly missed.”
Floral tributes have been left at Palm Beach on Australia’s Gold Coast, while fellow snowboarder and former Olympics teammate Jarry Hughes posted a tribute to Pullin on Twitter.
“Chumpy was a huge part of the Australian Winter team and will be sorely missed,” wrote Hughes.
“It was an honour to be teammates and have raced alongside you. Sending my condolences to his family, friends and loved ones. RIP.”