Respected abseiling instructor dies in school camp fall
High school students are being counselled after an abseiling instructor fell to his death in front of them at a popular West Australian tourist spot.
The 53-year-old father had been supervising an outdoor camp involving year 11 students and staff from Perth's Newman College at Brides Cave in Boranup, near Margaret River.
Police say the group of 15 students had already abseiled to the bottom of the cave area on Thursday afternoon when the instructor fell.
First aid was provided until a rescue helicopter paramedic was lowered into the cave and took over but the man died at the scene.
His colleagues and emergency service volunteers assisted with the recovery of the instructor, students and teachers from the bottom of the cave.
"It was really evident that we needed to get the kids out as quick as we could just to limit the exposure that they had," Sergeant Simone Taplin told reporters on Friday.
"Their welfare was primary for us to ensure that they weren't traumatised any further, so we managed to get them out of the cave very quickly.
"We had a counsellor on the scene. We spoke to them in detail about the incident and explained what had occurred and provided them with support measures.
"I think the children were in shock and the complexity of what happened had probably not landed."
Sgt Taplin said the man had a young family and was a well-known and respected community member with more than 25 years of abseiling experience.
She described it as an unfortunate accident but declined to go into detail on how it occurred, saying a report would be provided for the coroner.
WorkSafe officers attended the scene on Friday.
Newman College acting principal Lucie McCrory said the students had been taking part in an outdoor education camp.
She extended her condolences to the loved ones of the instructor on behalf of the school.
"The college has deployed all necessary resources to support the wellbeing and pastoral care of students and staff who have been impacted by this tragic incident. They arrived home late last night," she said in a statement.
"Police have praised the conduct of our staff and students and their response to the emergency services.
"The college will provide such assistance as is necessary to the relevant authorities as they investigate this incident."