Man dead after cliff plunge

A 23-year-old Frenchman was hanging from a sandstone ledge when he fell 40 metres to his death in the Royal National Park on Sunday.

Authorities will work through the evening to recover the body of the experienced climber, who was walking with seven friends when he died.

Police said the man was hanging from a ledge while on a morning walk with his girlfriend and mates from Wollongong University when he lost his grip.

‘‘At this stage the body is still beingrecovered and the next-of-kin have not been notified,’’ Inspector Mark Magrath said.Authorities had attempted to reach the body by air but high winds and rough seas were impeding recovery efforts, he said.

The State Emergency Service has rigged anchor points into the bedrock and on Sunday night were abseiling down the cliff to recover the man’s body.

The seven other hikers have been taken to Sutherland Police Station for questioning and are being offered support.

Emergency services received reports of the fall in the park, south of Sydney, about 10.30am on Sunday. The cliff is north of Little Marley Beach and south of Bundeena.

Inspector Scott Deller of the Rural Fire Service Sutherland branch said the terrain around Little Marley Beach was "fairly flat" and was a popular walking spot.

"Particularly on a weekend it’s extremely popular for people to walk what’s referred to as the ’coast track’," he said.

The cliffs along the escarpment pose the biggest threat to safety and "if you did fall off it wouldn’t be a very favourable outcome", Mr Deller said.

Jenna Mollross, 26, who was hiking at the cliff on at about 11am on Sunday, said the 10-kilometre walk from Little Marley to Wattamolla was a well-known hiking trail with at least 20 metres between the path and the cliff’s edge.

‘‘There is no barrier but there’s a lot of space,’’ she said.

The story Man dead after cliff plunge first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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