SMH: Police officer killed after being sucked into Blue Mountains whirlpool
A police officer has been killed after being sucked underwater during a guided canyoning tour north of the Blue Mountains.
Senior Constable Kelly Foster, 39, was one of two women who died during a guided canyoning tour near Mt Wilson on Saturday afternoon.
Search crews have located the bodies of a policewoman and an international student who were pulled into a whirlpool while canyoning in the Blue Mountains.
Police divers recovered their bodies in a whirlpool on Sunday.
NSW Police Acting Commissioner Mal Lanyon has extended his condolences to the Foster family on behalf of the NSW Police Force.
“It’s a very sad time for the NSW Police Force and Kelly’s death is a loss to the whole community,” he said. “Kelly was a highly regarded and dedicated officer who will be sorely missed by colleagues across the force.”
The other victim is believed to be an international student, 24, from Chiswick. She is yet to be formally identified and police were waiting for confirmation that family members have been notified.
Reports from witnesses indicate the younger woman was tipped off her inflatable lilo when it was swept into a whirlpool, NSW Police said. Senior Constable Foster was swept in as she tried to assist the younger victim, police said.
“To hear reports that Kelly was trying to help another woman when she died demonstrates her commitment to the community she served and the ability to put the needs of others before her own,” Acting Commissioner Lanyon said.
The two women had been feared drowned after a widespread search, which began about 2.30pm on Saturday, was suspended due to poor weather conditions about 6pm on Saturday.
In an earlier statement, police said the two women were with a larger group that was canyoning in the area when they were sucked into the water.
The search resumed at 7am on Sunday, and concluded about midday, when the bodies were discovered. Arrangements were made to recover the bodies via helicopter.
The other members of the group were not injured and were assisted by police, paramedics and other emergency services personnel at the scene.
Senior Constable Foster joined the force in August 2010, after which she commenced duties as a probationary constable at Newtown Local Area Command. She was confirmed as a constable in May 2012.
In May 2014, Senior Constable Foster joined the State Crime Command working as an intelligence analyst until May 2020. She was most recently working at Chifley Police District, stationed at Lithgow Police Station.
“Her policing career was put on hold when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, her strength to survive this and return to work is another testament to her strength and resilience,” Acting Commissioner Lanyon said.
“Above all, Kelly was a kind and loving daughter, sister and partner.”
ABC: Police officer and student die canyoning in Blue Mountains after ‘traumatising’ rescue attempt
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