Louise Benson and Michael Kearns may have been trying to get a selfie, rescuers say. (Facebook: Kathy Kearns)
The mother of a Perth man who died with his English girlfriend when they fell from a beach cliff in Portugal has told friends of the “tragic accident” which claimed the couple’s lives.
Michael Kearns, 33, and Louise Benson, also aged in her 30s, have been identified as the couple who plunged more than 30 metres to their deaths between 1:00am and 6:00am on Tuesday after falling from a beach wall in the seaside town of Ericeira.
“It is with a heavy heart I have to announce that Michael and Louise were taken from us in a tragic accident in Portugal,” Mr Kearns’ mother Kathy posted on Facebook, alongside a photo of the couple.
“Will be greatly missed by all of us who love them.”
Local rescue service captain Rui Pereira da Terra told Portuguese news agency Lusa how a mobile phone was found resting on the wall, suggesting a fatal photography mishap.
“It seems that [the victims] might be getting a ‘selfie’, when they let the phone fall, leaned over to grab it and fell,” he was quoted as saying.
Couple were in Portugal for wedding
The couple left Australia in January on holiday and had gone to a friend’s wedding in Portugal recently, it was reported
Mr Kearns’s mother is expected to travel to Portugal to bring her son’s body home.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to “the family of an Australian who died in Portugal”.
“The Department has been in contact with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding the other person who died in the incident,” DFAT said in a statement on Wednesday.
Ericeira is a popular surfing and fishing town about 35 kilometres north-west of the capital Lisbon.