Fatality is the eighth in the past 12 months
Fatality is the eighth in the past 12 months

The death of Chris Majewski in Karijini National Park comes after a horror 12 months in which eight people have died in areas managed by the State's premier environmental agency.

Mr Majewski became the fourth person to die in the remote Pilbara national park since 2004 when he slipped and fell 14m while trying to save his seven-year-old son at Dales Gorge on Tuesday.

His death came just days after the Department of Environment and Conservation - which is responsible for WA's vast network of national parks and reserves - revealed eight visitors died within areas it managed in 2010-11.

It also prompted questions about the adequacy of safety measures inside Karijini National Park amid suggestions the department had historically placed environmental considerations above all others.

The questions were highlighted by an image of the cliff from which it is believed Mr Majewski and his son fell, which showed what appeared to be strands of wire held together by star pickets.

As the DEC declined to be drawn on whether it would review its safety policies in Karijini, it emerged that concerns had been raised with the department about potential safety risks in the park.

These included whether there were enough barriers and signs in some of its most dangerous parts and whether some of the paths should be more clearly laid out.

John Winton, who is the acting regional director for the Fire and Emergency Services Authority in the Pilbara, said it was not up to the authority to determine or manage safety risks in Karijini.

But he noted the park was "an inherently dangerous place and unless people are well aware of what dangers there are out there then people can and unfortunately do come to grief there".

The DEC said there had been 12 rescues within Karijini National Park since the beginning of the year, although this did not include vehicle crashes.

A spokeswoman said the department was implementing the recommendations of reviews into four other incidents on DEC-managed land in the past 15 months.

The West Australian

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