Hero policewoman, 39, who died while trying to save an international student, 24, from raging whirlpool had trekked to the popular spot with her boyfriend – who watched on helplessly as she disappeared beneath the surface
- NSW Police officer Kelly Foster, 39, died while trying to save a drowning woman
- Senior Constable Foster dived bravely into a whirlpool in Wollongambe Canyon
- But she too was sucked into the water, with police divers recovering both bodies
- An adventure lover, Snr Const Foster had spent the morning hiking with partner
- They posted about their 2.5 kilometre trek on an adventurers social media app
- A 24-year-old international student also died while on a daytrip with a group
A hero police officer who died as she tried to pull a young woman from a raging river was an adventure lover, who had spent the morning trekking in the Blue Mountains with her boyfriend.
Senior Constable Kelly Foster, 39, drowned as she attempted to save an international student, 24, who was sucked into a whirlpool at the Wollongambe Canyon, on Mount Wilson, north-west of Sydney, on Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses told how Senior Constable Foster jumped into the water after seeing the woman’s inflatable lilo be sucked in by the whirlpool, tipping her off into the water.
But as she tried to pull the woman out, she too was sucked in by the powerful water.
That morning Senior Constable Foster and her long-term partner Gavin Morow trekked 2.5km from the tiny town of Mount Wilson to the Wollongambe River.
Senior Constable Kelly Foster (left) drowned while trying to save an international student who became stuck in raging waters in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, on Saturday. Senior Constable Foster had trekked to the picturesque spot with her boyfriend Gavin Morow (right)
The couple bonded over their mutual love of adventuring and regularly went camping, hiking and on mountain bike rides throughout Australia
Mr Morow posted about their trek on Strava, a popular adventurer at fitness social media app.
The couple bonded over their shared love of adventuring regularly went hiking, camping and on mountain bike rides throughout Australia.
The Blue Mountains, where Mr Morow grew up, was a regular visit for the pair in 2020, taking his 4WD on camping or day trips during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Senior Constable Foster only recently returned to the NSW Police Force after overcoming breast cancer.
The heroic policewoman had no hesitation before she dived in to try to save the woman from the raging waters, with other witnesses then throwing a rope into the creek in a bid to save her.
Acting Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon said she always ‘put the needs of others before her own’.
‘It’s a very sad time for the NSW Police Force and Kelly’s death is a loss to the whole community,’ Acting Commissioner Lanyon said in a statement.
‘To hear reports that Kelly was trying to help another woman when she died demonstrates her commitment to the community she served and the ability to put the needs of others before her own.
‘Kelly was a highly regarded and dedicated officer who will be sorely missed by colleagues across the force.
‘Her policing career was put on hold when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, however, her strength to survive this and return to work is another testament to her strength and resilience.
Senior Constable Kelly Foster, 39, joined the NSW Police Force in 2010 and Acting NSW Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon said she always ‘put the needs of others before her own’
Mr Morow (right) had posted about his trek with Senior Constable Foster (left) on adventurers social media app Strava on Saturday. The policewoman only recently returned to the job after overcoming breast cancer
An international student, 24, was among a group swimming on inflatable lilos at the popular Wollongambe Canyon (pictured) when she was sucked into the whirlpool. Her body was recovered on Sunday, along with Senior Constable Foster’s
‘Above all, Kelly was a kind and loving daughter, sister and partner.’
The international student was among a group swimming in the picturesque spot when she was swept up in the water.
Police and ambulance crews rushed to the scene about 2.30pm but the pair were lost beneath the surface.
A search for their bodies resumed on Sunday morning, after it was suspended about 6pm on Saturday because of poor weather.
Members of Senior Constable Foster’s family came to the canyon to witness the search in the desperate hope she would be found alive.
One fellow policewoman who joined the force at the same time as Senior Constable Foster remembered her as a ‘selfless and compassionate’ person.
Emergency services rushed to the scene after the alarm was raised about 2.30pm on Saturday, but poor weather conditions meant a search had to be called off about 6pm. When it resumed on Sunday the bodies of the two women were located by NSW Police divers
Eight other members of the group who the international student was with were uninjured
It’s believed both women were canyoning in water only that can only be reached after hours of hiking through rough terrain
‘RIP my old Academy mate. Always a selfless and compassionate individual. You will now be remembered as a hero. I will treasure the memories of our good times in Goulburn,’ a former colleague wrote.
The canyon is believed to have been flooded due to recent heavy rainfall.
The other members of the group were uninjured and were assisted by police officers and paramedics.
A report will now be prepared for the coroner.