Student plunges 40 metres to death while 'taking selfies' at cliff tourist spot in Australia

Peter Stubley
The Gap on the Flinders Peninsula near Albany in Western Australia: Horst Mahr/REX/Shutterstock

A student fell to his death from a cliff while taking photos at a popular tourist attraction in Australia.

The 20 year-old was reportedly posing for selfies with friends when he slipped off the 40-metre precipice at The Gap, near the historic port town of Albany.

His body was recovered from the water just over an hour later following a search involving a rescue helicopter.

"He was just very careful, just to take a picture and he just slipped down there, on the hill," Sahil Singh, a friend of the student, told ABC News.

Other witnesses described how the man was "mucking around" with his friends and running and jumping on the rocks when he fell at around 2.30pm on Thursday.

He was spotted lying unconscious on the rocks below before being swept out to sea by a wave.

His friends had to be prevented from jumping out to save him, according to a witness who called the emergency services.

Police are still trying to contact the student's parents, who are from India.

"A young male has gone into the water, and sadly lost their life. This is such a tragic event," said Dominic Wood, Great Southern District superintendent.

"All I know at this stage is that there is a small group, we think of about five young adults, they were down here within the vicinity of the platform behind me around the rocks.

"In any circumstances for someone to lose their life... is just horrible. It's horrible for the family, it's horrible for the first responders, it's horrible for the people who witnessed this event.

"It is a dangerous area but if you take precautions and stay between the bounds, then these things won't happen."

The site was briefly closed two years ago to add a viewing platform and railings and warning signs near the edge.