The Pt Cartwright cliff where three men fell on Saturday night.
The Pt Cartwright cliff where three men fell on Saturday night.

Three dead after cliff tragedy

SCREAMS rang out as friends watched three men plunge 22 metres down a sheer Point Cartwright cliff, landing on a rock shelf below.

The accident, which occurred about 6.30pm Saturday, resulted in the death of three men. A 22-year-old man – the first to fall – died at the scene from catastrophic head injuries.

Just before 6am yesterday a second man, a 20-year-old who had been airlifted to Brisbane, also died.

A third man, aged 23, was last night fighting for his life in the Royal Brisbane Hospital, with “horrific injuries”. Police reported this morning he had died just befpre 11pm last night.

All men were from Maroochydore.

Sunshine Coast District Inspector Darryl White said the men were in a group of six gathered at the cliff when a verbal argument broke out.

Among the group was a young female with an infant in a pram.

Insp White said there was information to suggest the group had been drinking.

“What’s happened is that members of the group have had some sort of verbal argument,” Insp White said.

“One of the males has then climbed over the safety barrier, and outside that safety barrier there is a narrow grass shelf some two metres wide leading to the cliff face.

“Witnesses indicate he has lost his balance and fallen to the ground, then slipped over the edge of the cliff face straight away.”

Insp White said two of the man’s friends – who had been involved in the argument – then went to the cliff’s edge.

“They looked over the edge and could see he was on the rock shelf at the bottom of the cliff face,” he said.

“And it is unknown at this stage if they have slipped and fallen over themselves or in fact they’ve attempted to climb down to render assistance and have fallen in an attempt to do so.”

Yesterday police investigators were at the scene trying to piece together exactly what happened.

The rock shelf where the men landed was covered in blood and there were remnants of the frantic rescue mission the night before, with surgical gloves left on a rock.

According to a police officer who attended the scene, it was “pitch black” when the men fell, hindering the rescue effort.

AGL Action Helicopter pilot Wayne Thompson said he was called to the scene about 7pm.

“When we arrived we went down close to the rocks so our intensive care paramedic could be on scene straight away,” Mr Thompson said.

“It was totally dark so we lit up the area with our night sun lights so emergency services officers at the scene could work more quickly.

“We were lucky it was low tide. Otherwise getting them out would have been harder.”

The surviving man remained in a severely critical condition last night, with injuries to his head and internal organs.

Families have been notified of the deaths, however, names of the deceased have not been released.

Police are preparing a brief for the state coroner and have urged people who witnessed the accident to come forward.

Anyone with information can call Kawana police on 5413 8700.

Tributes and thoughts can be sent to news@thedaily.com.au. Please keep your comments sensitive out of respect for the families involved.



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