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Serpentine Falls claims life of German tourist

The teenager who fell to his death at Perth's Serpentine Falls at the weekend has been identified as German tourist Ulrich Helmet Ditzel.

The picturesque Serpentine National Park waterfalls, about 50 kilometres south-east of Perth, have claimed at least a dozen lives over the past 40 years.

Mr Ditzel, 19, fell 12 metres to his death on Sunday while attempting to navigate the rock face.

He was attempting to find a lower ledge to jump from about 2.15pm, when he hit a wet patch and slipped, according to WA Police spokesman Gerry Cassidy.

Friends and onlookers pulled the teenager out of the water and tried to administer CPR, while they waited for St John Ambulance to arrive, Sergeant Cassidy said.

He could not be revived and was declared dead at 5.50pm at Armadale Emergency.

It is understood the Mr Ditzel, who has a Shenton Park address, was at the falls with two friends.

His next of kin in Germany have been notified.

A 21-year-old woman was killed after falling 20 metres to her death from the Serpentine Falls cliff face in 2011.

In 2007 a 27-year-old Beaconsfield man died after smashing his head on rocks while diving into the water.

Following the 2011 tragedy the State Government pledged to conduct a risk assessment of the popular summer spot.

The review lead to new recommendations, which included replacement of vandalised risk signs, the installation of additional risk signage, an investigation into whether a barrier would be appropriate at the top of the falls and an increased staff presence.

The DEC has since upgraded its signage and adjusted its rosters to ensure staff are present at the falls seven days.

Security cameras have also been installed and the number of visitors limited by closing the falls car park and restricting access to the landmark.

However, a barrier has not been installed as it was found to pose "additional visitors risks due to the topography and nature of the site," a DEC spokesman said.

"The large number of access points along the top of the falls would also limit the effectiveness of a barrier," she said.

A local teenager who was also at the national park on Sunday said he did not believe the death, or the signage would stop regular visitors from jumping off the rocks.

He said there were about 30 people around the falls before the incident.

"Other people were jumping off the falls area, that ledge that they jump off, and other people would have been swimming," he said.

"That's what happens every time you go there."

The local, who did not want to be named, said he didn't think the latest tragedy would stop people visiting the falls, nor would it stop people jumping off the rocks.

"People know that it's dangerous," he said.

"It doesn't really make that much difference to locals."

DEC are continuing to investigate Mr Ditzel's death.

2 comments

  • Theres no barrier to stupidity

    Commenter
    wee
    Date and time
    February 19, 2013, 3:36PM
    • Particularly in the comments section of this article.

      Commenter
      jj
      Location
      perth
      Date and time
      February 19, 2013, 7:12PM
Comments are now closed

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