The Gap’s viewing tower was redesigned in 2016. Department of Parks and Wildlife
The Gap’s viewing tower was redesigned in 2016. Department of Parks and Wildlife

Over the edge: Friends watch cliff death horror

FRIENDS have watched on in horror as a man plunged to his death after attempting to take a selfie at a popular Australian tourist site.

The international student, aged in his 20s, was "mucking around" with his mates when he fell 40 metres onto rocks at Western Australia's notorious tourist hot spot, The Gap. He was then swept out to sea.

"We were new here, we don't know about that, they had just gone taking pictures," the man's friend, Sahil Khenchi, told the ABC.

"We just can't explain, he was one of our friends," he said.

"We were studying in the same college. He was a very good man."

 

The fall from the viewing tower is approximately 40 metres. Picture: Colin Murty
The fall from the viewing tower is approximately 40 metres. Picture: Colin Murty

 

Warnings at The Gap.
Warnings at The Gap.

 

The friends were on a road trip, driving 415km from Perth to Albany to see the spectacular site, a natural rock formation that is one of the most visited attractions of the state.

The man was with a group of five friends on Thursday afternoon when he veered off the designated viewing platform.

At around 2.30pm friends saw him fall over the edge, hitting a number of rocks along the way. He landed and hit a rock at the bottom of the cliff.

A witness called triple-0 and said the man looked like he was unconscious after the fall.

Moments later a wave swept through the base and took the man's body out into the ocean.

"I had to stop his friends from jumping in after him and going over the edge," she told PerthNow.

 

The Gap’s reopening in early 2016 until end September saw almost double the number of visits in 2014, prior to the redevelopment. Picture: Department of Parks and Wildlife
The Gap’s reopening in early 2016 until end September saw almost double the number of visits in 2014, prior to the redevelopment. Picture: Department of Parks and Wildlife

 

Authorities began their search for the body, equipped with an RAC rescue helicopter and local SES crews. The man was found floating in water at approximately 3.15pm. The body was retrieved at just before 4pm.

"A young male has gone into the water, and sadly lost their life. This is such a tragic event," District Superindepedent for the Great Southern Dominic Wood said.

"It was a surprise to get a call such as this.

 

"All I know at this stage is that there is a small group, we think of about five young adults, they were down here within the vicinity of the platform behind me around the rocks.

"In any circumstances for someone to lose their life ... is just horrible. It's horrible for the family, its horrible for the first responders, it's horrible for the people who witnessed this event.

"It is a dangerous area but if you take precautions and stay between the bounds, then these things won't happen."

 

The Gap cliffs in Albany, Western Australia. Picture: Brenton Edwards
The Gap cliffs in Albany, Western Australia. Picture: Brenton Edwards

 

WA Police told news.com.au it could not give further comment on the matter while the City of Albany council did not return calls.

The latest incident follows the rescue of two men swept off the rocks at the site last month.

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