Stu­dent fell to death jump­ing for photo on crum­bling cliff edge

Daily Mail - - Life - By Jim Nor­ton j.nor­ton@dai­ly­

A STU­DENT plunged 200ft to her death after jump­ing in the air for a pho­to­graph on a crum­bling clifftop, an in­quest was told.

Hye­won Kim, 23, had asked a stranger to take her pic­ture but lost her foot­ing as she landed and top­pled over the Seven Sis­ters cliffs in East Sus­sex.

The South Korean, who had come to Bri­tain to im­prove her English, suf­fered cat­a­strophic head in­juries in the fall. Her mo­bile phone was later found at the top of the beauty spot. De­tec­tive Sergeant Tod Ste­wart from Sus­sex po­lice told the in­quest in East­bourne: ‘There were six pho­tos of her close to the cliffs. They were show­ing her jump­ing in the air ex­tremely close to the edge.

‘Her con­cen­tra­tion is not on any­thing other than what she is do­ing. The ex­pres­sion on her face shows noth­ing but en­joy­ment.’

Coro­ner Alan Craze said: ‘She landed with one foot be­yond the cliff edge and only her other foot land­ing on the cliff edge. Every one of the pho­tos shows her look­ing away from the cliff edge. A lot of South East Asians like to visit be­cause the Seven Sis­ters re­fer to the seven daugh­ters of the Chi­nese de­ity, the Jade Em­peror.

‘If peo­ple do things which put them in ex­treme and ob­vi­ous dan­ger, there is a limit to which they can be stopped.’

A state­ment by wit­ness Young Choi, 24, said: ‘I went to the Seven Sis­ters for tourism. An­other Korean girl, who I did not know, was there and she asked me to take pho­tos. ‘As I was tak­ing pho­tos, she fell down. We all tried to find some­one to call 999. After the 999 call, I called the Korean Em­bassy.’ Jin Gyeong Jang, an­other wit­ness, said: ‘I saw her stand­ing then heard sound of a bang, then she was not there. At the space where she was stand­ing, there was just a bag.’

Fire­man Richard Har­ri­son re­vealed what he saw when he at­tended the scene. He said: ‘We dis­cov­ered the body of a young fe­male, face down. I es­ti­mated the cliffs to be be­tween 150 to 200ft high.’

A post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tion con­cluded that Miss Kim died from cat­a­strophic head in­juries on June 22.

The death came a day after a ma­jor rock fall fur­ther along the Sus­sex coast.

Mr Craze said: ‘This is a very poignant and sad case. I want to ex­press my pro­found sym­pa­thy and con­do­lences to her fam­ily.’ No fam­ily mem­bers or em­bassy staff at­tended the in­quest.

The coro­ner said he would wel­come fur­ther re­search into meth­ods of pre­vent­ing fur­ther deaths at the tourist spot.

Record­ing a ver­dict of mis­ad­ven­ture, Mr Craze said: ‘This death is not unique.

‘Very sadly, what­ever is done by way of sig­nage, we should be lucky if this is the last one.’

He said he would en­cour­age the Na­tional Trust, who own the stretch of cliffs, to look into im­proved warn­ings and fenc­ing along the edge.

‘A very poignant and sad case’

Dan­ger­ous: The Seven Sis­ters cliffs in East Sus­sex

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