Bradley Streeter was with friends when, according to authorities, he perched himself on the railing of the viewing platform for the Cave Gardens sinkhole in Mount Gambier city, before somehow falling down to the base. Limestone Coast LSA inspector Campbell Hill told local media outlet ABC News that Streeter’s body was retrieved from the sinkhole just after 3 a.m. on Sunday.
“It’s one of the focal points of the Limestone Coast,” Hill said. “It certainly is a tragedy” Foul play is not suspected.
Surrounding a dormant volcano, the Mount Gambier region is known for its craggy landscapes and crater lakes; the sinkhole is a top attraction in the state heritage site of Cave Gardens. Once the original source of water for the early settlers, the attraction transforms into an oasis with a waterfall during rainy season. Roses dot the surface, and viewing platforms are suspended over the deep hole for perspectives of the abyss. Every night there is a sound and light show featuring local aboriginal stories, with images moving over the rocks and cave walls.
The incident follows a similar one in 2005, when a 21-year-old man lost his footing after jumping a fence to get closer to the sinkhole, falling about 33 feet. He luckily escaped with just a broken arm and leg and facial injuries.
And though the cave floor is technically no longer accessible, that doesn’t stop people from trying to enter it. The last noted incident was in 2011, when two men climbed into the sinkhole. One was injured when trying to climb back out, and was lifted out of the cave on a stretcher and taken to a hospital. The other climbed out via a ladder. Both were eventually taken into police custody.
Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said that the public safety regulations at the Cave Gardens sinkhole would be reviewed if required, telling ABC News, “Council certainly has many policies and regulations under which we have to operate, and they are all reviewed frequently and as they are required to be.”