More than 20 people have been ordered to leave a Queensland national park after putting their lives at risk in pursuit of a perfect picture. At the centre of their concern is the picturesque Josephine Falls, a popular selfie spot that’s been tagged close to 20,000 times on Instagram.
The falls are just over an hour’s drive south of Cairns, inside Wooroonooran National Park. Amid growing concern about visitor behaviour, rangers also issued six $431 fines for entering a restricted area.
The penalties were issued during the last three months, a time when increased rain can lead to “extremely dangerous” swimming conditions within the park.
Following three “avoidable” rescues in as many months, senior ranger Roger James issued a stern warning to visitors not to venture onto the wrong side of the safety fence at Josephine Falls: “You don’t need that selfie.”
Stern warning to thrill-seekers jumping into falls
Mr James also took aim at thrill-seekers venturing into a restricted area above the falls, along with those jumping into the pool below. “You don’t need to show how brave and fearless you are. It’s never worth it,” he said.
Visitors breaking the rules are not only putting their lives at risk, their conduct could lead to new, stricter regulations around the falls.
“Every time another person gets injured or dies, we have to consider additional measurers like further restrictions or closures and impacts on the natural environment to put in more barriers and signs, and issue more fines – and nobody wants that,” Mr James said.
Josephine Falls attracts thousands of visitors a year, but its beauty hides a tragic history.
On Monday, Yahoo News Australia shared harrowing vision showing a male swimmer stuck at the steep and rocky ledge of a river at Josephine Falls
In a separate November 13 incident, emergency services were called to the area after a woman fell five metres, and in 2016 a UK citizen drowned. Another man was also pulled from a river near the falls on October 11.
Those entering its waters should beware of submerged items, slippery rocks and strong currents, the department of environment (DES) has advised.
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