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Divers recover teen’s body at Hanging Rock

TRAGEDY: Police divers search the waterhole at Hanging Rock Falls for the body of a 19-year-old Sydney man who had been swimming with a group of friends.
TRAGEDY: Police divers search the waterhole at Hanging Rock Falls for the body of a 19-year-old Sydney man who had been swimming with a group of friends. Marc Stapelberg

POLICE divers have extracted the body of a 19-year-old Sydney man who died at Hanging Rock Falls, west of Nimbin, on Tuesday.

Richmond Local Area Command police Inspector Susie Johnston said the man was believed to be on his way to Falls Festival with about 15 friends when the tragic incident occurred.

"We're led to believe that the 19-year-old came up here with about 15 of his mates up to the Falls Festival and then yesterday they came out here, being a very hot day, to have a swim at the local watering hole," she said.

"It appears he swung off a rope on the rock wall (and) his foot's become entangled and he has, as a result, swung back and hit his head, and then fallen into the water and disappeared below the surface.

"Several friends attempted to find him, unfortunately with no success."

Police at the site at Hanging Rock Falls where a Sydney man went missing.
Police at the site at Hanging Rock Falls where a Sydney man went missing.

Four police divers from Sydney arrived at about 10.30am yesterday morning to search for the man's body.

Two of the divers proceeded down to the water where they quartered the area off and began a methodical search.

Shortly after, they located the 19-year-old's body close to the base of the cliff he had jumped from.

The man's mother arrived on the Northern Rivers yesterday afternoon to identify the body.

Local police, NSW ambulance paramedics and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter responded to the incident which occurred at about 12.30pm Tuesday.

 

Many dangers lurk beneath the surface of popular waterhole

THE tragic death of a 19-year-old at Hanging Rock Falls near Nimbin is not the first life to be claimed by the popular waterhole.

In 2010, 14-year-old Queensland boy Mackenzie Chase Mello died when he slipped off a sheer cliff face into the water while trying to access the rope swing.

In 2003, a Canadian tourist also drowned when he became trapped under a submerged ledge.

SHOCKING: The Northern Star reports a tragedy at Hanging Rock Falls.
SHOCKING: The Northern Star reports a tragedy at Hanging Rock Falls.

The water hole has also been responsible for countless serious injuries, including spinal, over the years.

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter air crewman Jethro Lampe said people should check for hazards underneath the water before they jump in.

"Any of those local waterfall areas have potential for spinal injuries and other injuries due to the fact that the water's pretty murky and there's no real way to check what you're jumping into," he said.

"You don't know what's been washed down into the falls themselves.

"Unfortunately when we do go to jobs like that they tend to be relatively serious because they're quite a high fall."

One nearby resident said locals had been swimming at the waterhole for "generations", and they were always taught about the dangers.

"No-one ever got hurt," he said. But then about 10 years ago a Canadian tourist was killed and there've been lots of tragic accidents since then.

"But cutting down the tree and the rope swing is not the answer. And it doesn't matter how many warning signs you put up. People will still jump off the rocks."

Police walk down the path to the Hanging Rock Falls rock pool.
Police walk down the path to the Hanging Rock Falls rock pool.

Topics:  death editors picks fatality hanging rock falls



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