Wednesday 21 August 2019

Student (26) was taking 'lots of selfies' before he fell from Cliffs of Moher, inquest told

Dublin student Anand Goel
Dublin student Anand Goel

Gordon Deegan

A German couple saw a Trinity College Dublin student take "lots of selfies" at the cliff edge moments before he fell to his death at the Cliffs of Moher, an inquest has heard.

At the inquest in Ennis yesterday, Clare County Coroner Isobel O'Dea returned a verdict of accidental death for Indian national Anand Goel (26) at the beauty spot on the afternoon of January 4 last.

"It is quite clear that Mr Goel was taking selfies in what proved to be a very dangerous place," she said.

In a statement, German tourist Nadine Stoeckl said Mr Goel "was taking selfies, lots of them" at the cliff edge just after 3pm that day.

Mr Goel, a marketing and design student, had travelled from Dublin as part of a tour.

Ms Stoeckl was with her boyfriend, Leo Voehringer, on the cliff walk leading to Hag's Head "and we were discussing how dangerous it was where he was sitting".

"He was sitting with his back to the sea and the sun was to the right of him, and he was taking selfies straight at him facing the camera with the sea in the background," she added.

In his statement, Mr Voehringer said they were 15 metres away from Mr Goel.

"We were standing there for around two or three minutes saying how crazy this is. I told my girlfriend not to look at him any more - we kept turning around to watch him," he said.

"Myself and my boyfriend were chatting and then I looked around and I saw the man who had been taking the selfies falling," Ms Stoeckl said.

"He was about two metres into his fall and his body was in a star shape with hands and legs out. He was falling backwards.

"I thought I was seeing things... I then heard a scream - I then heard a splash. I was in shock."

Another tourist, Madeleine John, from Australia, was around 200 metres from Mr Goel when she saw him fall.

"I heard him screaming. About one to two seconds later, I heard a large cracking sound," she said.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Goel died from severe skull damage consistent with a fall from a height.

Irish Independent

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