Safety ignored on deadly coastal rocks

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

Authorities remain frustrated by people ignoring safety warnings along the treacherous Great Southern coast.

The Advertiser has seen footage of a man almost slipping from a 20m-high cliff at the Natural Bridge as he takes a photo.

The man kneels close to the precipice, with rain making the granite slippery. He proceeds to move closer to the edge when he loses his footing.

It was caught on camera from the nearby lookout by concerned onlookers.

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A man puts his life in danger.
Camera IconA man puts his life in danger.

Albany Sea Rescue boat captain Chris Johns said he was astounded that people still risked their lives despite warnings.

“You’ve got a magnificent structure out there, it’s amazing that people seem to want to take risks,” he said.

“Its wonderful that people come here and enjoy our south coast but why you would want to put yourself and others at risk is beyond us.

“They seem to think risk is everybody else’s problem or they are shrouded in some sort of suit of armour that seems to protect them.

“I just don’t get it.”

The Gap and the Natural Bridge are among the common hotspots, despite six deaths and five serious accidents there since 1973.

Mr Johns said he was “extremely frustrated” by people’s disregard for the safety of themselves and others.

“Its just horrible to think about what actions rescue agencies have to take to retrieve that person,” he said.

“It’s extremely frustrating when we see this ... if there is an accident the ramifications of that folly can be disastrous.

“And even if that person was floating alive the chances of us getting there in time are remote.”

Albany Sea Rescue also witnessed people fishing off Salmon Holes without safety precautions such as personal floatation devices.

In April last year a 30-year-old man was swept off rocks and drowned while fishing at the site.

The man was the 12th fatality at the location since 1983.

“There are a multitude of places that lend them (PFDs) to you for nothing,” Mr Johns said.

“These things keep going on and nothing changes and that’s the frustration for us ... nobody seems to learn.”

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