Chilling last photo of tourist who plunged to death from Sydney cliff
‘He looks so happy’: Parents reveal chilling last photo of American tourist who plunged to death from a whale-watching cliff ‘while taking a selfie’ as they visit the spot where their son died
- Parents of American tourist who fell to death off a cliff visited where he died
- Gavin Paul Zimmerman, 19, was at Cape Solander near Sydney when he fell
- He and a group of Church of Latter Day Saints missionaries were at the lookout
- They walked down from official viewing platform to slippery rocky cliffs below
- Zimmerman is believed to have been taking a selfie when he plunged 10 metres
- His parents have revealed the last selfie he ever took moments before his death
Parents of an American tourist who plunged to his death from popular tourist spot have returned to the place where their son died and revealed the chilling last photo he took.
Missionary with the Church of Latter Day Saints, Gavin Paul Zimmerman, 19, was with a group of friends at Cape Solander, south of Sydney, when he fell into the ocean.
Almost a year since the fatal incident, the young missionary’s family made the difficult journey from Utah to the popular whale-watching cliff where their son died.
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Young missionary Gavin Paul Zimmerman (pictured bottom left) was visiting Cape Solander with friends and took one final selfie (above) before he plunged to his death
Parents of the American tourist who plunged to his death from popular tourist spot have returned to the place where their son died and revealed the chilling last photo he took
However, shortly before his death Gavin took one last selfie with the ocean in the background and sent it to his father, Ray.
‘It’s a selfie, you can see all the people around. He looks so happy! He had a smile on his face, it looked like a beautiful day,’ Gavin’s father, Ray, told Channel Seven’s Sunday Night.
‘It looked like there was plenty of room between him and the edge, I mean I didn’t think, there was no alarm – nothing. It looked perfectly fine.’
Mr Zimmerman responded to his son’s selfie with a message, but when Gavin didn’t reply he just thought his son was busy.
‘Then I said, “I’ll talk to you next week, bud. Love ya” and then we get the knock on the door a few hours later,’ an emotional Mr Zimmerman said.
Gavin has been working at his church’s Sydney mission since 2017 and was visiting the popular cliff with a group of missionaries on July 23 last year.
Mr Zimmerman was thought to be taking a selfie when he lost his balance and plunged ten metres into the sea below.
Mr Zimmerman was thought to be taking a selfie when he lost his balance and plunged ten metres into the sea below the cliffs (pictured)
His shocked friends were unable to reach where he had landed and made desperate phone calls to police.
A lifesaver helicopter arrived in seven minutes and crews put green dye in the water to trace the current to find the Mormon missionary.
They found him unconscious just below the surface after 30 minutes in the water.
Lifeguards on jet-skis pulled him from the waves and put him in a police boat from where he was winched to dry land – but paramedics could not revive him with CPR and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
It is thought the group of teenagers walked down from an official viewing platform to a slippery, rocky ledge nearer the water.
Gavin’s shattered parents released a statement in the days following their son’s death.
Gavin’s shattered parents released a statement in the days following their son’s death
Gavin has been working at his church’s Sydney mission since 2017 and was visiting the popular cliff with a group of missionaries on July 23 last year
‘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 read.
‘He was a great example to us all, and he loved his mission very much. He enjoyed teaching people and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
‘Gavin was a bright light in our lives.’
A friend of Mr Zimmerman’s, Gio Grillo, said he had been sending her photos of his time in Australia.
‘He emailed me yesterday, telling me they were going to the cliffs and he was going to take lots of pictures to show me,’ she wrote on Facebook.
‘It was today when I found out what happened, one of my closest friends, one of the best missionaries I knew, fell to his death.
‘Gavin was such an amazing guy. I’m so heart broken right now.’
Shortly before his death Gavin took one last selfie with the ocean in the background and sent it to his father, Ray
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