A Chinese international student and a New South Wales Police officer were on a guided canyoning tour with eight others in Wollangambe Canyon in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney when they were sucked under the water in a whirlpool and drowned.

canyoning accident

It is believed that the 24-year-old international student fell off her inflatable raft when it was swept into a whirlpool. She was then pulled under the water.

A 39-year-old NSW Police officer, Senior Constable Kelly Foster, who was also on the tour, attempted to rescue the younger woman and was also pulled under.

Police say it took one of the other members of the group 45 minutes to hike out of the canyon before they could get a phone signal and raise the alarm.

Following the canyoning accident, an initial search for the women was suspended at 6pm on Saturday 2 January, and was resumed at first light on Sunday. The two bodies were located and recovered soon after.

The canyon is relatively safe according to locals, but water levels have risen after recent rainfall.

The bodies will be lifted out by helicopter as soon as possible. Several rescuers remain with the two deceased in the canyon until the airlift can occur.

The international student has not yet been formally identified. Police are waiting for confirmation that her family in China have been advised.

Drowning risk for international students in Australia

On average three international students drown in Australia each year.

Most recently two close friends who came to Australia as international students drowned on Christmas Day while swimming at a beach in Victoria.

Learn about water safety in Australia

Don’t become a victim. Learn about water safety. Take the Water Safety Course.

It could save your life.

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Source: ABC News

Photo by Harry Dona on Unsplash