US missionary, 19, falls to his death while taking photos from a cliff in Australia
LDS Church via ABCNews.com(KURNELL, Australia) — A Mormon missionary from Utah died after falling from a cliff while taking photos in Australia, authorities said.
A statement from the victim’s parents, Raymond and Jeanette Zimmerman, released by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, identified the man involved in the Monday incident as Gavin Paul Zimmerman, 19.
“It is with deep sorrow and heavy hearts that we share the news of our son’s passing from this Earth to return home to his Heavenly Father,” the statement reads. “Gavin was a bright light in our lives! He was a great example to us all, and he loved his mission very much.”
Emergency services arrived about 3:30 p.m. at Cape Solander Drive in Kurnell, Australia, in response to a man who had fallen from the cliff, police said.
The cliff is a popular whale-watching spot, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The U.S. State Department confirmed the death of a U.S. citizen in Australia, though not by name.
“We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased,” the agency said in a statement. “Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.”
The victim fell 33 feet from the top of the cliff into water, where he was found unconscious, according to police.
“Initial inquiries suggest there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident,” according to a statement from New South Wales government officials.
Zimmerman’s New York-based friend Gio Grillo said she had emailed him shortly before he fell from the cliff. “We talked about things we were going to do after he got home from his mission and how excited he was to reach his one-year mark [in Australia] in August,” she told ABC Australia.
Another man fell off the cliff and died last month, ABC Australia also reported.
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