Visitors take life into own hands

Jessica CuthbertAlbany Advertiser

Images of people perched on the edge of a notoriously deadly cliff have shocked witnesses and again frustrated emergency responders.

These photos were taken from the platform at The Gap on Tuesday.

A local visitor said a man and two children lay down on the edge of the rocks.

She said it was sickening to see.

“They were right on the edge, dangling their hands down the side,” she said.

“It was sickening to see and there were so many kids, visitors, and tourists watching.

“People were taking photos, absolutely shocked at what they were seeing.”

The visitor said tourists who were with their families were mortified watching the people at the edge of the cliff.

“It was really disappointing to see. There is a fantastic platform that you can walk out over the edge, I don’t see why they have to risk their lives and go to the other side.”

She said members of the public had approached the people, who were believed to be tourists, and told them about deaths in the area.

Albany Sea Rescue operations co-ordinator Chris Johns said people risking their lives was, unfortunately, something he was getting used to. “We are used to these sort of photos now but we are not the public’s social conscience,” he said.

“We are a first-response agency who respond when these things go pear-shaped.”

He said it was disappointing to see people not using the platform that extended metres over the edge.

“We’ve become so conditioned to these things but we are an emergency agency that will always respond,” he said.

“We don’t get inflamed by it or upset. It’s frustrating that people want to take these risks.

“The facility out there is amazing. It’s stunning and it’s frustrating that people go out there on the other side.”

Police were called to the Gap on Tuesday after receiving a call from a member of the public who was worried someone had fallen into the water. Albany Sea Rescue was called, but stood down because it was a false alarm.

“People call emergency response units believing that someone may be in trouble, and that’s a good thing,” Mr Johns said.

“We certainly don’t want photos like this stopping people from making the call. We don’t want the caller to feel stupid or embarrassed. It may be a false alarm, but that call can save a life.”

He said it was confusing that the history of accidental deaths at The Gap did not seem to deter people from taking the risk.

”It doesn’t seem to improve their judgment, and despite the deaths and body count, people still do this sort of thing,” he said.

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