Call for safeguards at beauty spot

Serpentine Falls: a review found barriers would be ineffective.
Serpentine Falls: a review found barriers would be ineffective.

At 2.15pm last Sunday, German tourist Ulrich Helmut Ditzel (19) slipped on wet rocks while climbing towards a 12m ledge.

Police said onlookers rescued him when he failed to surface after crashing onto rocks as he entered the water.

He was non-responsive when St John’s Ambulance officers assessed him, and was declared dead at Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital at 5.50pm.

A report for the coroner is being prepared. Mr Ditzel’s death is the second in as many years at Serpentine Falls.

Girrawheen 21-year-old Jessica Dobrovolny fell from a 15m rock ledge on January 15, 2011.

Her death prompted an internal review of safety measures at the falls by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).

Darling Range MLA Tony Simpson said the review resulted in more signage, and now he wanted all options reconsidered.

‘My biggest fear is that we will lose this community asset as a place to swim if these tragic incidents continue to occur,’ Mr Simpson said.

He supported a suggestion that a memorial wall on the path leading to the top of the falls may prompt people to re-think their plans.

Labor candidate Barry Urban said it would be a travesty to close the beautiful spot.

He called for barrier installation, for alcohol to be banned at the falls, but permitted in the picnic area.

‘It needs an all-agency approach with DEC, emergency services and police,’ Mr Urban said.

Shire president Bruce Moore offered his condolences to Mr Ditzel’s family.

‘Our deepest sympathy to the family of the victim, who I believe was an overseas tourist and resided in Shenton Park,’ Cr Moore said.