Brides Cave tragedy: Newman College revealed as school involved in Margaret River abseiling death

Phil Hickey, Carly Laden and Bethany HiattThe West Australian
VideoAbseiling instructor falls to death at Margaret River's Brides Cave in front of Newman College students

An abseiling instructor has plunged to his death in front of a group of Newman College students during a trip to caves near Margaret River.

Police said that the 53-year-old man died at Brides Cave in Boranup after falling 40m on Thursday.

Officers were called to the popular abseiling site about 3.20pm to support St John WA and SES volunteers in the medical evacuation of the man, who fell while facilitating an abseiling excursion with a group of school students and teachers from the Perth high school.

It is understood there were 13 students in the cave when the man fell.

Worksafe investigators at the scene at Brides Cave near the Boranup Forest this morning.
Camera IconWorksafe investigators at the scene at Brides Cave near the Boranup Forest this morning. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret R/Augusta-Margaret River Times

“A number of students and teachers had already abseiled down to the bottom of the cave area when the instructor fell,” police said in a statement.

“First aid was provided to the man until an RAC Rescue helicopter paramedic was lowered down into the cave and took over care of the patient.

“DFES State Emergency Service volunteers and colleagues of the deceased man were able to provide guidance and instruction to safely recover the deceased, students and teachers from the bottom of the cave.”

He died at the scene.

Margaret River shire president Paula Cristoffanini said she was extremely saddened by the news of the tragic incident.

“Yesterday, we lost a much-loved local member of our community,” she said.

“I’d like to extend my condolences to the victim’s family, friends and all involved in this unfortunate event.

“We are a close and resilient community here in Margaret River, and now is a time to support one another and all who knew this wonderful man. He will be greatly missed.”

It is understood DFES officers abseiled into the cave to retrieve the students and teachers.

WorkSafe has also been advised of the incident. A report will be prepared for the Coroner.

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