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Aussie tourist dies with partner while trying to take selfie

June 14, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Travel agents might consider warning their clients about the dangers of taking selfies, following yet another selfie-related fatality – this one a double tragedy involving an Australian.

A couple from Britain and Australia plunged to their deaths from a wall overlooking a Portuguese tourist beach, having apparently lost their balance while taking a selfie.  Local media identified them this morning as Australian Michael Kearns, 33, from Perth, and his partner Louise Benson, 37, from Bristol in England.

Portugal’s Correio da Manhã newspaper reported the couple had died on the Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Beach) near Ericeira.

An account in the Guardian said officials suspected the couple had been taking a selfie on a wall above the beach when they toppled over and plunged 60 metres onto the sand below.

An official was quoted as saying that a mobile phone had been found on the wall, and everything suggested “the victims might have been taking a selfie, when they allowed the phone to fall, leaned over to grab it and fell”.

Local Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Notícias spoke of fishermen discovering a “horror scene”.

“At first the fishermen thought the corpses, from far away, might be people sleeping on the beach,” the newspaper said. “Only when they got closer did they realise that it was a dead couple…”

The cliffside beach at Ericeira

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it was providing consular assistance to “the family of an Australian who died in Portugal”.

Photography can be a hazardous pursuit, as demonstrated in Sydney only last week. See: Did whale-watch photos lead to man’s death in Sydney?

Mishaps can befall tourists in all sorts of ways, however – it’s not just selfies.

In 2015, a picturesque French castle off the coast of Normandy, loved by tourists, became the site of a tragic accident when a couple fell off a high wall.

The incident had similar elements to the recent tragedy in Portugal, but in the French case the couple, aged in their early thirties, were not taking a selfie. It is believed they were having sex on the castle battlements before a tragic miscalculation caused them to plunge 12 metres into the moat.

In that incident, the couple plummeted to their doom from the castle walls at Vauban Fort on the island of Grand Île in the English Channel’s Chausey archipelago.

Police in Britain and France confirmed that the naked bodies of a man and woman were found in the moat while their clothes and belongings had been placed on the castle wall immediately above.

Written by Peter Needham

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