Mother and Daughter Die in Suspected Murder-Suicide Near Sydney: Report

May 21, 2019 Updated: May 22, 2019

A woman and a 2-year-old child died in Australia after plummeting to their deaths from a cliffside lookout platform. The woman has been identified on May 22, as Tanja Ludwig, 33, a German national living in Wollongong, according to 7News.

Emergency crews were working on May 21 to recover the bodies of the woman and toddler from difficult terrain in bushland at the bottom of a cliff at a popular tourist spot near Wollongong, about 40 miles south of Sydney, 7News reported.

A worried citizen contacted the police around 2 p.m. local time to express concern about the welfare of the woman and 2-year-old girl.

When crews arrived, they found the bodies of the woman and child—believed to be mother and daughter—at the bottom of the cliff.

According to 7News, police are investigating the incident as a possible murder-suicide.

Superintendent Chris Craner was cited by the Illawarra Mercury as saying that the news was “going to be devastating for the family and my thoughts are also with the emergency services who have turned up here today to this horrific incident.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that some family members had arrived at the site and were comforted by crews after showing emotional distress.

Images of the recovery operation at the Mt. Keira lookout, published by 7News, show crews on the platform as a helicopter hovers with a rescue crew member dangling on a cable.

Superintendent Craner told 7News the recovery operations were hindered by the difficult terrain.

“It’s steep, it’s hectic, we’ve got police coming in from the low side, police trekking down from the high side,” he told the news outlet. “It’s a treacherous, dangerous area that we need to get to.”

The station reported that retrieving the bodies would likely take crews many hours.

College Student Killed After Falling Off Cliff

The incident recalls the case of a 20-year-old college student who fell off a cliff while posing for a photo in Arkansas, plunging 100 feet to her death.

Briar Cliff University junior Andrea Norton was repositioning herself for a picture at Hawksbill Crag, a popular hiking destination near Jasper, on April 13, when she fell.

The Associated Press cited Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler as saying that Norton was with a group of other college students when she died.

Andrea Norton
Andrea Norton, 20, was on a trip for her environmental science major when she fell to her death. (CNN)

Norton, of Hot Springs, South Dakota, had been on a hiking trip with college classmates at the time of the accident, according to her obituary.

Speaking to how dangerous the area is known to be, Wheeler told ABC news, “One stumble or misstep is all it can take to turn a great day into a tragic one.”

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