Student dies after cliff jump
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 gofundme.com/4oysvuo.
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