Selfie-Taking US Missionary Dies in Cliff Fall

Photos show Gavin Zimmerman close to rock edge
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2018 6:59 AM CDT
This 2011 photo shows a clifftop view within Kamay Botany Bay National Park.   (Wikimedia/Maksym Kozlenko)

(Newser) – Gavin Zimmerman promised to take lots of photos from a whale-watching lookout in Australia so he could share them with friends back home in Utah. He won’t get the chance. Before finding a cellphone with photos of Zimmerman close to a cliff edge, authorities pulled the lifeless body of the 19-year-old Mormon missionary from the waves Monday. Halfway through a two-year mission in Sydney, per the Salt Lake Tribune, Zimmerman had been with friends at the popular sightseeing spot of Cape Solander in Kamay Botany Bay National Park when he slipped and fell 100 feet. A lifeguard eventually pulled Zimmerman’s body from 25 feet below the water’s surface, but he could not be revived, reports ABC Australia.

Zimmerman's parents call their son a "bright light" who "enjoyed teaching people and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ." Meanwhile, a local mayor is warning people not to climb fences or get too close to slippery rock cliffs at Cape Solander, where a man in his 30s died in a fall six weeks ago, reports Yahoo. "You're putting your life at risk and why—for a photo? It's not that important," Carmelo Pesce tells ABC, noting cellphone images show Zimmerman "extremely close to the edge of the rock." Per ABC, an American friend says Zimmerman "would always write group emails to everyone back home" and had promised to "take lots of pictures [from the lookout] and email me next week to show me." (These tourists suffered a similar fate.)

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