Teen who fell to death from Sydney cliff identified as Mormon missionary


A young man who died after falling from a Sydney cliff while whale-watching was a Mormon missionary from Utah in the US, who’d been in Australia for almost a year.

Gavin Paul Zimmerman, 19, fell at least 10 metres at Cape Solander at Kurnell in Sydney’s south on Monday afternoon.

In a statement Mr Zimmerman’s parents, Raymond and Jeanette Zimmerman, say it is with heavy hearts they share the news of their son’s passing and they will miss him greatly.

“Gavin was a bright light in our lives!” his parents’ statement read. 

The grieving parents said their son was a high school track and football athlete who came to Sydney last August for a proselyting mission.

They said he had a deep religious faith and had served in several leadership positions.

“He was a great example to us all, and he loved his mission very much. He enjoyed teaching people and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Mr Zimmerman’s parents said.

A man who died after falling from a Kurnell cliff while whale-watching was a Morman missionary from Utah. Source: 7News

Police, with the help of a rescue helicopter, found him floating in the water and pulled him out unconscious onto dry land.

Paramedics performed CPR but he could not be revived.

The 19-year-old died after falling from a cliff in Sydney on Monday. Source: 7News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirmed Mr Zimmerman was with other missionaries when the tragedy happened.

Missions are considered rites of passage for many Mormons, with men serving two years and women 18 months.

Mr Zimmerman’s death comes barely six weeks after a man in his 30s fell from the same popular whale-watching spot and died.


NSW Police Chief Inspector Chris Hill urged anyone visiting the area to take heed of warning signs.

“Those rocks are very slippery. For your safety, we recommend that you stay up on the whale-watching platform and please don’t go down on the rocks,” he said.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service describes Cape Solander as “one of Sydney’s best whale watching spots”.

June and July are the best times to see humpback whales off the NSW east coast as they migrate north to warmer waters.