Man dies in Royal National Park cliff plunge

French university student Fabien Ardoin.

French university student Fabien Ardoin.

 Fabien Ardoin was a driven University of Wollongong PHD mechanical engineering student and part-time model, who loved to travel and someday wanted to start his own business.

In his extensive Linked In profile, the 23-year-old French national, who died after falling from a cliff in the Royal National Park on Sunday, detailed his plans for the future.

‘‘I want to be happy and offer my family the chances of success,’’ he wrote. 

‘‘I am looking for something new, something exciting that can offer me to continue travelling and to be involved in multicultural team which is the key of my happiness.’’

Source: Illawarra Police Rescue Squad

Source: Illawarra Police Rescue Squad

Mr Ardoin, who was an experienced climber, was hanging from a sandstone ledge when he fell 40 metres to his death.

Friends of Mr Ardoin’s took to social media to pay tribute following the incident.

‘‘So sad. RIP Fabien. Fate dealt you a fatal blow yesterday. God Bless you,’’ one friend wrote on Mr Ardoin’s Facebook page.

Mr Ardoin was a visiting research student at UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre. 

The Centre’s director Professor Paul Cooper said Mr Ardoin would be remembered as a young man with a ‘‘larger than life’’ personality.

"We are deeply saddened at the tragic death of our student, friend and colleague,’’ Professor Cooper said. 

A rescue helicopter hovers off Little Marley Beach after a bushwalker fell to his death. Picture: JENNA MOLLROSS

A rescue helicopter hovers off Little Marley Beach after a bushwalker fell to his death. Picture: JENNA MOLLROSS

‘‘Fabien was a wonderful young man who was loved by all of us for his larger-than-life personality, his cheeky smile and his friendly approach to everyone. We will miss him enormously. 

“Our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences go out to Fabien’s family and friends.” 

Emergency services received reports of the incident at 10.30am on Sunday. 

The cliff where he fell is north of Little Marley Beach and south of Bundeena.

Sutherland police inspector Barrie Bourchier said Mr Ardoin was with a group of eight other walkers, including his girlfriend, when they deviated from the Coastal Walk to take photos near the edge of the cliff.

‘‘The Coastal Walk does go near the area but does not go to the edge,” Insp Bourchier said.

He said they left the trail to take photographs.

The group of friends with whom the man was bushwalking when he died. Photo: Channel Nine

The group of friends with whom the man was bushwalking when he died. Photo: Channel Nine

Insp Bourchier said the French Consulate had been informed of Mr Ardoin’s death, and it was understood his family had been notified.

Authorities attempted to reach Mr Ardoin’s body early on Sunday but high winds and rough seas impeded recovery efforts.

The State Emergency Service rigged anchor points into the bedrock and abseiled down the cliff to recover his body at 6.30pm on Sunday.

Mr Ardoin’s friends were being offered support on Monday.

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