Dangerous selfies ‘can kill you’: Australian police warn after woman falls to her death

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The view from the popular Boroka Lookout in the Grampians National Park.

Geoffrey Rhodes/Flickr, Creative Commons

The view from the popular Boroka Lookout in the Grampians National Park.

Victoria’s Police Minister Lisa Neville has urged people not to risk their lives by chasing “extreme” photos for social media after a woman fell to her death in front of her family in the Grampians on Saturday.

A 38-year-old mother from Craigieburn, in Melbourne’s north, climbed past safety barriers at the popular Boroka Lookout, a cliffside lookout about 600 metres above ground level.

The woman fell about 80 metres down the cliff face about 3pm. She died at the scene as her husband and child watched on, witnesses told Nine News.

It took police and the State Emergency Service more than six hours to retrieve the woman’s body on Saturday night.

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Neville said while the death was tragic, authorities could not barricade every dangerous spot in popular tourist areas to avoid deaths by misadventure.

“In the end, we can’t rope off every part of Victoria. People have to take responsibility,” Neville said on Sunday. “That is dangerous behaviour.”

Melbourne woman Iman Kamarelddin said she had visited the same lookout to take a photo on an overhanging ledge only hours before the Craigieburn woman fell to her death.

“I was devastated. I honestly broke down and I was just so thankful it wasn’t me,” she told Nine News on Sunday.

“We do it literally just for the photo, just for the thrill of it.”

Grampians tour operator Graham Wood said he warned customers in the hour leading up to the woman’s death on Saturday afternoon that similar accidents “happen all the time, and one of these days someone’s going to fall off”.

Neville said the incident served as a stark reminder to tourists that ignoring safety barriers or warnings for a social media photo “can kill you”.

“What we saw yesterday was a really tragic outcome of behaviour that unfortunately we see too often,” she said.

“We see it on the Great Ocean Road all the time, and often our lifesavers are put at risk having to rescue people who are trying to do extreme photos for social media purposes.

“It not only puts you in harm’s way, but it actually risks our lifesavers, and our emergency services personnel who have to either try and rescue you or recover a body – and that’s what we’ve seen [on Saturday].”

Boroka Lookout’s spectacular views have made it a popular destination for both hikers and camera-carrying tourists, and was in the spotlight last year after a man was filmed performing a backflip on a cliff ledge.

Police in the Northern Grampians have previously criticised those trying to get “selfies” at the lookout with “individuals risking life and limb” and “constantly tying up our resources”.

“We regularly see dangerous photos and videos geo-tagged to the area where individuals have compromised their own safety to get a particular shot,” the Northern Grampians police said in a Facebook post in January last year.

“If you’re visiting the Grampians this summer, we’re asking you to be vigilant, stick to walking tracks and obey warning signs. No selfie is worth risking your safety.”

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