A woman with a Selfie stick inadvertently captured a drowning tragedy on her GoPro camera as she filmed herself frolicking underneath the waterfall at a popular Australian national park.
Anneka Bading, 24, was swimming at Mackenzie Falls on Saturday afternoon in the Grampians National Park, a nature reserve in Victoria, Australia, known for cascading waterfalls, sandstone mountains, wildflowers and wildlife including echidnas and wallabies.
Totally unaware of the tragedy unfolding behind her, Bading filmed herself the same moment a 28-year-old man fell into the water and drowned in spite of frantic efforts made by a group of friends trying to rescue him.
The man who drowned is believed to be a Taiwanese national living in Australia. The incident occurred at about 5 pm on Saturday, as Bading and her friends were playing in the water
The victim’s body was found by authorities on Sunday after local police and emergency crews were forced to stop searching Saturday night due to poor light.
Police Leading Senior Constable Lee Thomson said witnesses reported seeing the man go below the water on Saturday afternoon. The death is not being treated as suspicious.
Bading said the man was with a group of about 10 people playing on the rocks near the bottom of the waterfall when he fell in. The attempting rescuers are visible in the background of footage of Bading swimming with her friends.
“They didn’t even swim there, he was sitting on the rock and must have slipped. They were having so much fun till he fell in,” Bading told a local newspaper. “We got halfway out where the water was very deep, then all these people started screaming and pointing.”
“At that point we had no idea what was going on,” Bading said. “We thought some sort of animal was in the water. We couldn’t understand what was going on and they kept screaming and pointing.”
“One girl grabbed my GoPro stick and tried to use it to save him. I then clicked someone was drowning.”
Bading said the tragic event was made worse by the fact “not one person” had mobile phone service and there was a language barrier with the victim’s group of friends.
“We’re terribly saddened by this incident,” said Parks Victoria chief operating officer Simon Talbot, who noted there were three signs posted to warn that swimming was forbidden. “In all of the state’s national parks and reserves it’s important for visitors to observe warning signs and the advice of park rangers.”
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