A man has died after falling into a sinkhole in South Australia’s south-east.
- SA Police were called to the Cave Gardens sinkhole just before midnight
- They say a 20-year-old from Lewiston died at the scene
- The sinkhole is a popular tourist attraction in the Mount Gambier region
Emergency services and police went to the Cave Gardens sinkhole in Mount Gambier just before midnight on Saturday after receiving reports a man had fallen in.
Police say a 20-year-old man from Lewiston died at the scene.
Limestone Coast LSA inspector Campbell Hill on Saturday morning said police suspected the man fell about 30 metres to the base of the sinkhole.
He said the body was retrieved from the sinkhole just after 3am on Sunday.
“It’s around about a 30-metre drop to the base of the cave … so it did pose quite an issue,” he said.
“It’s quite a complex environment to have to work within.
“We used one of the fire appliances and their aerial crane and through that it was obviously a roping mechanism and a roping set-up that was used to winch the male out of the cave.”
He said it was certainly a concerning incident at one of the region’s top tourist attractions.
“It’s one of the focal points of the Limestone Coast, it certainly is a tragedy,” he said.
“It certainly is a unique location for an event of this type to occur, it’s certainly not one that we’ve experienced in recent times, certainly to this severity.”
‘It’s been a safe environment for many years’
Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said she was saddened by the news and shared her condolences with those impacted by the death.
“Like me, the community will be very saddened to think that such a tragic event could happen at one of our premier tourist attractions right in the heart of the city,” she said.
“… It’s been a safe environment for many, many years, enjoyed by thousands of people.
“I really would like to pass on my condolences to the victim’s family and friends on their tragic loss.”
She said the council had many policies and regulations in place to manage public safety and the Cave Gardens sinkhole would be reviewed if needed.
“Council certainly has many policies and regulations under which we have to operate, and they are all reviewed frequently and as they are required to be,” she said.
“Council certainly looks after their public spaces in the interest of public safety and we will continue to do so.
“I believe this particular case now is a matter for the coroner and we will wait for the outcome of his findings and go from there.”
Police said there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the man’s death, however, any witnesses who had not yet spoken to police have been asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
“We would certainly be interested to speak with them and help us gather the fuller picture of what occurred,” Inspector Hill said.
The Cave Gardens sinkhole is one of the top tourist attractions in the Mount Gambier region, with the council ranking it in its top 10 places to visit.
The City of Mount Gambier website states Cave Gardens is a state heritage area in the centre of Mount Gambier.
It is described as an historic garden which flows deep into a sinkhole which features several viewing platforms for visitors.
The incident comes following a separate incident where a 21-year-old man was seriously injured after he fell about 10-metres into the Cave Gardens sinkhole in 2005.
Terry Menadue escaped with a broken arm and leg and facial injuries after losing his footing when he jumped a fence to gain a closer look at the sinkhole.