26 September 2023

Falls at Falls a worry says QPWS

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Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), is urging visitors to stop ignoring warning signs and safety barriers in parks after a person recently fell about five metres at Josephine Falls.

Ranger-in-Charge of QPWS, Leigh Willis said the signs were there for a reason — helping to make the safety of visitors and QPWS staff in national parks the number one priority.

“We have investigated the recent incident, and it is alleged that the person fell from a restricted access area and they are incredibly lucky to have avoided serious injury or death,” Ranger Willis said.

“Every year, thousands of visitors enjoy the waterfalls in the national parks near Cairns and Innisfail, and most people pay attention to our safety signs, which are there to help keep our visitors safe.”

He said rangers and emergency services had assisted people who ignored the signs and sustained serious injuries, and there had been tragic cases when fatalities occurred.

“We identified the top pool of Josephine Falls as a high-risk area due to recurring incidents and closed it to the public several years ago to help keep people safe,” Mr Willis said.

“Although people have died here, and others have been seriously injured, many visitors believe it won’t happen to them, and they ignore warning signs and safety barriers to get the perfect selfie for ‘likes’ on social media.”

He called on members of the public to stop and think about the price they could pay for that selfie, which could be a fine, life-changing injuries or worse.

“To help keep people safe, rangers regularly visit Josephine Falls, and with the storm season approaching, sudden rises in river levels can turn the peaceful swimming spot into a deadly torrent in minutes,” Mr Willis said.

“I would much rather have a friendly chat to visitors about the natural and cultural values of the area, than issue a warning or a Penalty Infringement Notice for offenders who break the rules.”

More safety information around Josephine Falls can be accessed at this PS News link.

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