A WARNING sign alerting visitors to the dangers at a popular swimming hole near Nimbin where a 14-year-old boy died on Saturday was mysteriously removed about 12 months ago, local say.
The unofficial sign at Hanging Rock Falls at Wadeville warned tourists that jumping from the popular rope-swing at the waterhole was extremely dangerous and that people had previously died there.
The teenage boy slipped and fell 10 metres into the swimming hole on Saturday and did not resurface.
After an unsuccessful search on Saturday, police divers found the boy’s body in seven metres of water shortly before lunchtime yesterday.
The boy, whose name has yet to be released, was from a Queensland rugby league club, which had been celebrating its end of season with a trip to the Northern Rivers and a farmstay at a Uki property.
The group of about 30 boys from the club’s under-14 and under-16 football teams, spent Saturday morning at the swimming hole.
The 14-year-old slipped off a track leading up to a rope-swing about 10.15am, and fell awkwardly into the water.
He failed to resurface and after a frantic search by the other boys, parents and club officials, several members of the group raced to the nearby Wadeville shop to raise the alarm.
Emergency services including police, ambulance paramedics and State Emergency Service volunteers responded to the call for help.
Volunteer members of the Wadeville Rural Fire Service were first on the scene.
A search of the surrounding area was carried out and the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was called in for an aerial search of Leicester Creek.
Rescue crews used a line to drag the water hole but were unsuccessful due to the depth of the water.
The swimming hole’s depth has never been successfully measured.
Acting Police Inspector Peter Robbins said at the scene on Saturday that rescuers found slip marks on the rocks leading up to the rope swing.
He said the boy’s father was present when the accident occurred and both distraught parents waited at the search area until police convinced them to leave.
They travelled to Lismore on Saturday night where they remained until they received the devastating news yesterday.
After police and SES volunteers failed to find any sign of the boy on Saturday, the search was called off shortly before 4pm.
A police guard was placed at the scene and police divers were called in from Sydney.
The diving squad left Sydney on Saturday evening, arriving at the waterhole about 10am yesterday.
They located the boy’s body around 11am.
Family members formally identified the body yesterday afternoon.
Police have yet to release the dead boy’s name.
A post mortem will be carried out to determine the cause of death and police will prepare a report for the coroner.
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