Perth man in abseiling tragedy during school trip to Boranup caves

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Brides Cave lies within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
Camera IconBrides Cave lies within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

A 53-year-old Perth man has died in an abseiling incident during a Perth school trip on Thursday afternoon which sparked a major emergency response.

The RAC helicopter was sent to airlift the man who was part of a school group undertaking activities at Brides Caves, in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park at Boranup, 25km south of Margaret River.

Authorities scrambled at news of the incident just after 3.30pm.

Police were initially called to the popular abseiling site to support St John WA and DFES State Emergency Service volunteers with the evacuation of the man who had fallen while abseiling with a group of students and teachers from a Perth high school.

Some of the participants were already at the bottom of the cave area when the instructor fell.

First aid was provided until an RAC Rescue helicopter paramedic could be lowered into the cave to take over.

However, authorities said the man became unresponsive and died at the scene.

SES volunteers helped to recover the man’s body and helped the other participants get out of the cave.

WorkSafe will be examining the incident and a report will be prepared for the Coroner.

The incident was at the same location popular with abseilers which sparked an emergency response on November 26 last year when police and State Emergency Service crews retrieved a stranded bushwalker.

The cave is located in dense bush managed by Parks and Wildlife.

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