A Perth couple who died after falling from a lookout at a popular beach in Portugal while reportedly taking selfies has been identified.
The couple, who plunged 30 metres from the cliff, were identified by local media as Australian Michael Kearns, 33, and his British partner Louise Benson, 37.
They were reportedly taking photos at a wall overlooking the beach when they lost their balance and fell early Tuesday morning local time at Pescadores beach in the coastal town of Ericeira.
Their bodies were found at around 6.30am by a worker cleaning the beach at the popular surfing spot, around 30 kilometres from Lisbon.
Fishermen described a “scene of horror” to local media. They told the Journal de Noticias they at first thought the couple was sleeping on the beach, but realised they were dead after they approached.
Rui Pereira da Terra, the head of the rescue service in Cascais port, near Lisbon, said it appeared the couple was taking a selfie when the tragedy happened.
Emergency workers found a mobile phone on the wall where they were understood to have lost their balance.
“Everything seems to indicate that the fall happened when they were probably trying to take a selfie,” he told AFP. “It seems they dropped their mobile phone and fell down while leaning over to retrieve it.”
Mr Kearns’ mother Kathy wrote on Facebook: “It is with a heavy heart I have to announce that Michael and Louise were taken from us in a tragic accident in Portugal. Will be greatly missed by all of us who love them.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) told news.com.au it was providing consular assistance to the family of the Australian who died.
DFAT also said it was in contact with British authorities regarding the other person who died.
“The Department has been in contact with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding the other person who died in the incident,” a DFAT spokeswoman said.
Mr Kearns was a fly-in, fly-out worker on Chevron’s Wheatstone project in the Pilbara, according to Perth Now.
Mr Kearns’ parents were notified of their son’s death about 1am on Wednesday and were later visited by WA Police. His mother said they had left Australia in January to go travelling and had attended a friend’s wedding in Portugal in recent weeks.
The couple, who lived in Perth, were keen divers. Ms Benson, from Bristol, worked with environmental non-profit Sea Shepherd Australia.
She had shared photos from Sri Lanka on Facebook in February.