Stu­dent dies af­ter cliff jump

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - KATE CAMP­BELL

THE dev­as­tated fam­ily of a Perth teenager who died in a cliff-jump­ing tragedy at Bic­ton’s no­to­ri­ous Black­wall Reach says he was a kind, lov­ing and bright young man who wanted to give back to his adopted coun­try.

Curtin Univer­sity stu­dent Luseni Traore, 18, is the sec­ond per­son in less than 12 months to die af­ter jump­ing off the Black­wall Reach cliffs.

His friends who were with him have told The Sun­day

Times that Luseni was with a group of about 20 peo­ple, en­joy­ing a sunny, fun-filled day on Fri­day be­fore the start of exam week when just af­ter 5pm he jumped into the Swan River from the cliffs — some­thing he had done pre­vi­ously.

They don’t know ex­actly what went wrong, but they say Luseni sur­faced and within sec­onds ap­peared to panic be­fore go­ing un­der.

Friends in the river des­per­ately tried to save him while Wa­ter Po­lice divers ar­rived within five min­utes and dragged him on to the po­lice boat, be­fore he was taken by am­bu­lance to Fiona Stan­ley Hospi­tal.

De­spite their best ef­forts, Luseni — a Guinea-born Liberian refugee who moved to Aus­tralia at the age of four — was pro­nounced dead at the hospi­tal.

A mas­sive con­tin­gent of Luseni’s fam­ily and friends gath­ered at his mother’s Dianella home yes­ter­day to pray and com­fort each other.

His un­cles Ma­mady Kande and Seyeh Dulleh paid trib­ute to Luseni, who they de­scribed as a good Mus­lim, lov­ing son and re­spect­ful mem­ber of the com­mu­nity.

“As you can imag­ine it is a shock for some­one like him to lose his life,” Mr Kande said fight­ing tears. “It’s go­ing to be tough for the com­mu­nity to re­cover from that.”

Mr Dulleh said Luseni was a tal­ented teenager who was study­ing civil engi­neer­ing at Curtin Univer­sity.

“He was ded­i­cated to our com­mu­nity . . . his wish was to re­turn the good that Aus­tralia did for the Liberian refugees,” he said.

“We had a lot of hope for this child, but God has his will.”

Luseni’s fam­ily is anx­ious to get his body back from the Coroner as soon as pos­si­ble to en­sure he has a “dig­ni­fied” burial. They also want to thank the com­mu­nity for its sup­port and the emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel who tried so hard to save Luseni.

When asked if Luseni was a strong swim­mer, Mr Dulleh said he had swim­ming lessons at school, but the fam­ily was un­sure of the ex­act cir­cum­stances of his death.

Luseni’s close child­hood friends told The Sun­day

Times they would never for­get their kind and down-toearth “brother”.

“He was al­ways there for us . . . al­ways con­cerned about us,” his friend Losene Dulleh said.

In Jan­uary, Tai­wanese tourist Ed­die Chi­ang, 31, died af­ter jump­ing off Black­wall Reach.

Royal Life Sav­ing WA se­nior man­ager Lau­ren Nimmo said Black­wall Reach was a no­to­ri­ous drown­ing spot and warned the pub­lic to be aware of the risks.

A crowd­fund page to help with fu­neral costs is on­line at

Above: Fam­ily mem­bers grieve for Perth teenager Luseni Traore af­ter the cliff-div­ing tragedy. Top: Curtin Univer­sity stu­dent Luseni Traore and the warn­ing signs at Point Pre­ston Re­serve at Bic­ton. Pic­tures: Ross Swan­bor­ough

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