Sydney – A young British model on a dream trip around the world plunged 100ft to her death after posing for photos on a clifftop selfie hotspot.
Madalyn Davis, 21, had been at a late-night party in Australia and walked with friends to cliffs where they planned to watch the sun rise over the sea.
But she fell from the edge in Sydney. Police received a call at 6.30am on Sunday and rescuers recovered her body four hours later.
Local councillors said last year they would crack down on visitors risking their lives at Diamond Bay Reserve for the perfect picture after a 27-year-old woman fell and died in August. A fence has been erected at the beauty spot but it is claimed tourists frequently climb over it to photograph themselves in a more dramatic way.
Family friend Lydia Woodward said: ‘Maddy had been at a party and then they all went to this cliff to take pictures.
“It appears that Maddy was sitting on the cliff edge to have her picture taken when she fell. It’s such a tragedy.”
Before Miss Davis was found, her mother Rebecca Smith, 41, a yoga teacher, wrote online: “Anyone seen Maddie? Not been able to get hold of her. Please get in touch if you were out with her last night.”
Miss Davis, a make-up artist from Lincoln, had visited Thailand and Bali before arriving in Australia. She was funding her travels with occasional modelling work.
She had told her 14 000 Instagram followers that she was having a great time, having set out from the UK in October. In a November post accompanied by a photo of her in Thailand, she wrote: “Can’t believe I’ve been travelling for a whole month now! Not looked back at my old life once (miss my job though) and I am super-excited for my future abroad.”
Her grandfather Paul Davis, 76, of Sturton le Steeple, Nottinghamshire, told of the family’s devastation. He said: “She was intelligent, very stylish, trendy and had a magnetic personality.
“Everybody liked her. She lit up everybody’s life. She had it all. It has broken our hearts. Everybody is completely shattered. We are devastated. We spent all of yesterday in tears.”
He added: “As I understand it, she went to a party with some friends and they all had a good time. Afterwards they decided to go and watch the sun rise. It seems there was a fence which they must have crossed somehow.
“We wonder if she sort of stepped back and slipped. You wonder if something else might have happened – if she fell or was pushed or something. We simply don’t know if she was involved in the taking of a picture.
“We also don’t know whether she fell on to rocks or into the sea, but it was quite rough.
“You always ask the question of whether or not she suffered, and how did she die.’
Blurry footage obtained by Australian TV shows a group walking along a road to the clifftops. They are seen climbing over the safety fence and sitting on the cliff edge.
Marine rescuers said emergency services were called on Sunday morning ‘after a group of people taking photos inside the fence re-gathered and could not find the woman’.
Local mayor Paula Masselos said the council was devastated to learn about the latest death. Further talks will begin today on how to keep others away from the cliff edge.
Past visitors have left warnings for tourists on Google reviews. ‘They have now barricaded off the best part but you can still get some beautiful photos from the walk track,’ one says.
Another wrote: ‘Took pre-wedding photos here… but need to be really careful.’
Police said: ‘Waverley Council and the coroner are making recommendations to stop this type of tragedy ever happening again. It has happened at Diamond Bay previously. It’s too early to say if the tragedy was an accident or foul play.
‘At this stage misadventure has not been ruled out. We are preparing a report for the coroner and then the council and the coroner will make their findings public in due course.’