British tourist, 24, tragically drowned after jumping off waterfall at Australian beauty spot before his mates landed on top of him, inquest hears
A British tourist tragically died after jumping off waterfalls in Australia in the middle of a fun-filled afternoon with friends, an inquest heard today.
Charlie Williams, 24, was enjoying the sunshine at Behana Gorge swimming hole in Queensland, Australia, when the group of friends he had met at a nearby hostel decided to start sliding down the natural rock formations.
The inquest heard that Mr Williams, who lived in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was in the Sunshine State pursuing his dream to be a musician and a DJ, when the tragedy occurred on April 10.
Charlie Williams, 24 (centre), was with a group of friends when he drowned at Behana Gorge swimming hole in Queensland, Australia, on April 10
Mr Williams, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was living in Australia on a working visa to pursue his dreams of being a musician and DJ
During the hearing at Buckinghamshire Coroner’s Court in Beaconsfield, Coroner Alison McCormick heard details that Mr Williams was the first of his group to jump off the waterfall at around 5pm, before three or four others swiftly followed him into the cold and dark water.
In evidence, Australian Coroner Nerida Wilson stated: ‘The others followed Charlie a split second behind him and landed on top of him. When the others came to the surface they noticed that Charlie was not there.
‘Another man dived down to try to find him. They could not locate him and it was approximately five minutes before Charlie was found by another man in the group.
‘They removed him from the water and commenced CPR.’
The inquest was told that some of Mr Williams’ friends, who he had met at the Mamas Hostel in Cairns, ran three kilometres down to the end of the gorge to get help.
Ambulance crews sped to the scene but despite their best efforts, the young man was declared dead just before 7pm.
A post-mortem examination conducted in Australia by Dr Paul Botterill found that the keen rugby player had suffered bruising to his skull and arms. However, these injuries were not significant enough to have killed him and the pathologist ruled that Charlie’s primary cause of death was drowning.
A toxicological examination found that he had 72mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, just below the UK’s drink-drive limit. Mr Williams also had a very low level of a cannabis metabolite in his blood. The Coroner ruled that these had no direct role in his death.
Concluding the inquest, Ms McCormick said: ‘I am satisfied that Charlie’s death was not suspicious and no-one intended him to come to any harm.
‘The bruising to his scalp and the injuries to his chin and arms may suggest Charlies suffered them when one or more of the group hit him but this is speculation.
Keen rugby player Mr Williams had suffered bruising to his skull and arms but the pathologist ruled that his primary cause of death was drowning
The Bahana Gorge is a popular spot for tourists and wildlife lovers, while locals warn the water current can be ‘dangerous’ at times
‘It is not clear why or how Charlie came to drown during what should have been a fun-filled afternoon of adventure in a beautiful location. Charlie’s death was a tragic accident and even more terrible for Charlie’s family as it happened so far away from home.
‘I agree with the Australian coroner that this was an accident and there that will be my conclusion.’
After his death, his friends and family paid tribute to him.
Bicester Rugby Union Football Club posted: ‘It is with a very heavy heart that I tell you that yesterday afternoon, Charlie Williams, seen here in his Bicester kit standing between George and Cam, died in a tragic accident in the Behana Gorge, Cairns, QLD.
‘Charlie played his senior rugby at Bicester and as a Junior at both Banbury RUFC and Chinnor RFC. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and many friends at this time.’