How a ‘lazy day’ swimming ended in tragedy for heroic cop

The trek that saw a police officer die trying to rescue a student in the Blue Mountains was only meant to be a “lazy day swimming”.

The NSW policewoman who died tragically in a canyoning trip gone wrong belonged to a Blue Mountains bushwalking club that promoted the spot as good for a “lazy day floating or swimming”.

Senior Constable Kelly Foster died in the Blue Mountains on Saturday after she and a 24-year-old woman were sucked into a whirlpool at Wollangambe Canyon.

The Daily Telegraph reported Ms Foster and the woman she tried to save were both new members of the Upper Blue Mountains Bushwalking Club.

On its website, the club warns canyoning is physically demanding, but describes Wollangambe as only of “medium” difficulty and suitable for “fit beginners”.

“Come and join us on a lazy day floating or swimming down the Wollangambe at Mt Wilson,” the club wrote in the lead up to the ill-fated trek.

“There are long swims and rock scrambling below magnificent cliff walls. No abseils or ropes are involved.”

The beginners on the tragic trek included Sen Con Foster and the Chinese student who perished with her, and has yet to be identified.

They were joined on the trip with seven other students and led by a veteran canyoner. has contacted the Upper Blue Mountains Bushwalking Club for comment.

Tributes have flowed since the accident for the bravery of the “selfless” policewoman who tried to save the Chinese student after she was knocked into the water and immediately began to struggle.

Emergency services rushed to the scene at about 2.30pm on Saturday after the women disappeared beneath the water however it wasn’t until yesterday that police divers found their bodies nearby.

Speaking to reporters today, NSW Acting Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon revealed a tragic detail about Ms Foster’s past, saying she had only recently returned to policing after time off battling cancer.

“Kelly had battled breast cancer but she was totally committed to being a police officer,” he said.

“The fact that her death has been felt so hard by the NSW Police Force demonstrates the respect that she held.”

Acting Comm. Lanyon said Ms Foster was “a very loved and respected member of the New South Wales police force”.

“Her untimely passing yesterday is a great tragedy both for her family but also for the entire police family,” he said.

“I’d like to extend my deepest sympathies and heartfelt thoughts to her family, not only to her family, but also the family of the 24-year-old female who was with Kelly.”

Witnesses at the scene described the moment the 24-year-old, an international student from Chiswick, was knocked off her inflatable lilo and into the water.

Ms Foster attempted to rescue the 24-year-old, but was also sucked in.

“Kelly’s selfless action in attempting to rescue the 24-year-old woman shows the highest qualities that a police officer can possibly demonstrate and really vindicates why I’m so proud of the NSW police force and all of the police officers we work with,” Acting Comm. Lanyon said.

Police have offered “significant support both to the family and her colleagues”, he added.

“Later on today I‘ll certainly be going to visit her colleagues out of Lithgow to show my support. We have a great structure in place within the police force to ensure that all of her colleagues are supported.

“We provided significant support to her family and that will be ongoing. Not only is Kelly part of the police family, but her family as well are part of our family. We’ll look after them.”

Ms Foster joined the police force 10 years ago, starting as a probationary constable at Newtown Local Area Command. She was confirmed as a constable in May 2012.

In May 2014, she joined the State Crime Command working as an intel analyst until May 2020.

She was most recently working at Chifley Police District, stationed at Lithgow Police Station.

ALSO Mourning one of their own: Police pay tribute to hero officer Senior Constable Kelly Foster

In regional papers with photo of Acting Superintendent Glenn Cogdell

Categories: ALL POSTS