Devastated children are mourning the death of their mother, who they watched plunge 80 metres to her death from a Victorian lookout that police have issued numerous warnings about.
Rosy Loomba, a 38-year-old mother-of-two from Craigieburn, north Melbourne, was bushwalking with her family at the Grampians National Park when she fell from the Boroka Lookout, near Halls Gap, about 3pm on Saturday.
Her husband Basant and their young sons watched on helplessly. She fell after climbing over a safety barrier at the lookout — famed on Instagram as the “perfect selfie” spot.
The community support worker died at the scene.
It took Victoria Police and State Emergency Service volunteers more than six hours to retrieve Ms Loomba’s body.
Her body had to be winched out by a specialist team after 9pm due to the harsh terrain.
Ms Loomba’s sister-in-law, Jassu Minal Loomba, said the news was hard to take in.
“She was a good life partner for my brother and best mum for her kids,” Ms Loomba said. “(The family is) still in shock and it’s really hard to believe,” she told the Herald Sun.
Tragically, Ms Loomba’s death comes after chilling warnings from police about the tourists looking for selfies in the area.
“One of the issues that is constantly tying up our resources is individuals risking life and limb in a bid to get the ultimate selfie,” a police warning read in January 2019.
“We regularly see dangerous photos and videos geo-tagged to the area where individuals have compromised their own safety to get a particular shot.
“We also frequently work with local rescue teams on missions to bring individuals to safety who have ignored signage and climbed over safety barriers or fencing.
“Our missions do not always have successful outcomes.”
Sergeant Russell Brown, of Halls Gap predicted that “absolutely ludicrous” Instagram posts would eventually end in tragedy.
“From an emergency services point of view it’s quite frustrating when you see that irresponsible action that can lead to serious injury or death,” he said.
“If you fall, you die. If this turns bad you’ve got to be thinking of your family, friends and other people who have to become involved.”
Ms Loomba’s husband’s Facebook page shows the family regularly enjoyed hikes. He shared many pictures of the couple and their children in the bush and at famous lookouts including at the Dandenong Ranges.
The Boroka Lookout shows panoramic views of the east Grampians after a five-minute walk from the car park.
It has become an increasingly popular photo spot, with more than 6000 Instagram posts tagged at the location.
One woman uploaded a photo posing there just three hours after the woman fell to her death. It’s unclear if the image was taken before the accident.
Graham Wood, who runs motorcycle tours in the area, said there were a lot of people at the lookout yesterday.
He told the ABC he watched someone climb out on the ledge for a photo — something he says happens all the time.
“I don’t know how you can stop it happening but maybe this incident will help,” he said.
“It’s a hard way to get people to adhere to what should be common sense.”
Thousands of pictures show people who have climbed over the safety barriers to snap a travel photo while sitting, standing or even in some cases doing handstands and even backflips on the ledge.
In January 1999, a 59-year-old British tourist fell to her death at the lookout while holidaying with her husband and other relatives who were taking photos.
In November 2018, a man went viral for a video showing him completing a backflip on the edge of the lookout.
The clip garnered more than 127,000 views, with many commenting that he was “lucky to be alive”.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said on Sunday “no photo is worth a life” and urged people to consider their safety over their social media feed.
“What we saw (on Saturday) was a really tragic outcome of behaviour that unfortunately we see too often,” she said.
“Do not take these. It not only puts you at risk but it actually risks our life savers and emergency services workers that have to go either to rescue you or your body.”