British girl, 7, swept to her death over African waterfall

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A British girl aged seven was swept to her death over a South African waterfall despite desperate attempts by her mother to save her.

A British girl aged seven was swept to her death over a South African waterfall despite desperate attempts by her mother to save her.

Bethany Park and her family were enjoying the spectacular views from the Lisbon Falls, near the Kruger National Park, when she slipped as she tried to cross a stream and fell into the water last Thursday.

Witnesses said her mother, Amanda, 32, jumped in after her and tried to rescue her, but they were both swept away by the current.

They were washed over a 20ft waterfall above the main falls and a rock at the top of the final chute broke Mrs Park's descent. She lost her grip on her daughter and Bethany plunged over the main falls, falling 160 feet to the bottom.

Her father, Courtney, 34, ran down the hillside beside the falls and frantically tried to revive the girl using mouth to mouth resuscitation but she was declared dead at the scene.

A helicopter plucked Mrs Park from the lip of the waterfall in a 12-hour rescue operation and flew her to the Unitas hospital in Pretoria where she was treated for injuries to her ribs and pelvis and had an operation on her back. She wasreported to be in a stable condition yesterday.

Her family, including Bethany's younger sister, Abigail, three, were on holiday in South Africa from their home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and were staying with Mr Park's brother, Mark, who lives in Johannesburg.

The Lisbon Falls are five miles from Graskop in Mpumalanga province, close to the Kruger National Park, which draws millions of visitors a year for its game viewing. The Lisbon river plunges down the falls in a double stream over a 300ft semicircular rock face.

Bethany is the second young British tourist to die in South Africa in the past week. Cara Weaver, 14, was crushed to death by a cable car on Table Mountain, Cape Town, as she prepared to abseil down a cliff.

Comments