79-Year-Old Man Falls to His Death During Waterfall Hike With Daughters

by Craig Garrett

An elderly father perished after tumbling more than 65 feet down a cliff beside one of Australia’s most photographed waterfalls. He was hiking with his two daughters at the time. The accident occurred at Purling Brook Falls in Springbrook National Park in the Gold Coast region around midday on Thursday.

The 79-year-old lost his footing and fell 65 feet while he was on vacation from Victoria visiting one of his daughters. One of his daughters tried to climb down the waterfall and help him. However, he could not be saved, as 9News Gold Coast reported. Officers will file a report with the coroner.

Witnesses spoke to the local news about the tragedy. One eyewitness was shocked at how severe the incident was. “It’s a bit shocking cause when you see helicopters, you think someone fell, injured or an ankle injury.” Another told 9News that they saw one of the victim’s daughters at the waterfall. “It was very sad, we saw one of the family members on the way back up and she looked distraught.” The Purling Brook Falls circuit is a 4km, grade 3 hike in Springbrook National Park. The trail takes about an hour and a half to complete.

The waterfall has been a dangerous site for photo seekers in recent years

The waterfall is irresistible to folks wanting a good selfie, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin. Tourists are risking their lives by taking selfies on the edge of Purlingbrook Falls. It’s all in pursuit of the best vacation photograph. Despite multiple signs warning visitors of the dangers, many people have been ignoring them and going into restricted areas of Springbrook. A woman and her two children are seen jumping into the water just feet away from the top of a waterfall in one shot. In other shots, teenagers are perched on the tiny lip of a cliff face opposite the falls. They have clearly vaulted fences and gates to reach the vantage point.

In the most perilous stunt seen to date, a man was able to climb over the waterfall’s edge and stand on a ledge just below it where his wife could take a picture. A concerned Springbrook resident, who requested not to be identified, told the outlet that tourists were putting their lives in danger for the perfect vacation shot.

“It is like a selfie trend that is going off,” the resident told the Bulletin in 2015.“What they are doing looks terrifying, they explained. “When you go to the edge of the [waterfalls] you can step down. They are taking photographs of their friends standing there looking up [at the water flowing down towards them].“It’s crazy and it’s dangerous.”

The president of the Springbrook Wildlife Appreciation Group, Ceris Ash, was contacted by concerned citizens after the “Springbrook Selfie Shots” went viral during the summer holiday season. More rangers are needed, and a tourist education campaign must be staged, according to Ms. Ash. “There has to be a clear open barrier because of the flooding issue here,” she said.