Swimmer films drowning tragedy
A YOUNG woman who inadvertently captured the moments surrounding a drowning tragedy on her GoPro camera has called for better mobile reception and signage following the "horrifying" ordeal.
Victoria woman, Anneka Bading, 24, was swimming at Mackenzie Falls on Saturday afternoon in the Grampians National Park when a 28-year-old man fell into the water and drowned.
His body was found by authorities on Sunday after local police and SES crews were forced to stop the search on Saturday night due to poor light.
Ms Bading said the man was with a group of about 10 people playing on the rocks near the bottom of the waterfall when he fell in. The group can be seen in the background of her footage as she swam with friends, Fairfax reports.
"They didn't even swim there, he was sitting on the rock and must have slipped. They were having so much fun till he fell in," she told the Stawell Times.
"We got halfway out where the water was very deep, then all these people started screaming and pointing," she said.
"At that point we had no idea what was going on. We thought some sort of animal was in the water. We couldn't understand what was going on and they kept screaming and pointing.
"One girl grabbed my GoPro stick and tried to use it to save him. I then clicked someone was drowning."
Ms Bading said the tragic event was made worse by the fact "not one person" had mobile phone service and there was a language barrier with the victim's group of friends. The man who drowned is believed to be a Taiwanese national living in Australia.
She said an off-duty lifeguard was among those present but the water was too deep underneath the waterfall and the pressure too strong for him to risk going in.
"We all told him not to risk it. Thank god he didn't," she said.
Instead, she ran to the carpark and drove for 10 minutes before mobile phone service kicked in and she was able to call emergency services.
Parks Victoria chief operating officer Simon Talbot said there were three signs at MacKenzie Falls saying swimming was forbidden.
"We're terribly saddened by this incident at Mackenzie Falls," he said in a statement.
"In all of the state's national parks and reserves it's important for visitors to observe warning signs and the advice of park rangers."