A tourist was just having fun with her friends at a waterfall when she accidentally filmed a man drowning in the background while using her GoPro camera as she swam. But after failing to save the man, she now calls for better cellphone signal at the area as she thinks he could have been saved if emergency services arrived quickly.
The incident happened at MacKenzie Falls in the Grampians National Park in Victoria, Australia.
Anneka Bading, 24, was just swimming in the pool of water right near the waterfall. As she filmed herself using her GoPro camera, she noticed a group of young Taiwanese tourists shouting and pointing to the water.
Because none in the group was talking in English, Anneka and the other tourists in the waterfall had no idea what was happening. They first thought that the Taiwanese group was just horsing around or had seen some animal in the water but when one girl grabbed her GoPro stick to use it to try find someone under the water, she realized that someone was drowning.
“Everyone didn’t know what to do and we couldn’t understand [the victim’s friends]. My legs were shaking when I knew what was going on but no one knew what to do,” she said.
Anneka quickly tried to call emergency services but her phone had no signal. She yelled out to the others to make the call but it turned out there was no signal reception at the area. In hopes of saving the drowning tourist, Anneka ran to the car park a kilometer away but still there was no signal there.
She drove her car for about 10 minutes before finally finding cellular reception. Immediately, she dialed emergency services and was told that the spot where the Taiwanese tourist had fallen had a rock shelf beneath and the man could be trapped inside.
As soon as she was assured that help was on the way, Anneka rushed back to the waterfalls where an off-duty lifeguard and other tourists were still trying to find the drowning man. But the current was too strong.
They would soon advise the lifeguard to not risk his life as well because it appeared that the current was also pulling him down.
Sadly, the Taiwanese man’s body was only found the following day. While Anneka had footage of his drowning, she chose not to share that on social media out of respect for the man and his grieving family.
But Anneka wouldn’t let the matter rest, especially because she and her friends were actually on the way to that spot to take a swim. She said that the park officials should have put up signs to warn people not to swim at that spot because of the rock shelf and the strong current but Parks Victoria chief operating officer Simon Talbot claimed there were three signs placed there – signs that the Taiwanese group and even Anneka had not seen!
Anneka also pushed for better signal reception in the area to help in future emergencies, something that was extremely challenging to achieve, according to Mr. Talbot, but Telstra is currently exploring options to provide the service soon.