A heroic police officer who died trying to pull a young canyoner out of a raging river has said an emotional goodbye with a full police funeral.
Senior Constable Kelly Foster, 39, drowned while trying to rescue an international student, 24, who was sucked into a vortex on January 2 in Wollangambe Canyon, on Mount Wilson, northwest of Sydney.
The international student also died.
Senior Constable Foster’s family, friends and colleagues gathered in Lithgow on Thursday afternoon for her funeral.
Her parents and partner Gavin Morom – with whom she had moved to the picturesque site on the day of her death – were seen comforting each other at the emotionally charged funeral at Lithgow Uniting Church on Thursday.
Senior Constable Kelly Foster, 39, died in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney while trying to save a young woman who was sucked into a vortex
Senior Constable Kelly Foster’s parents and partner will console each other at the funeral in Lithgow on Thursday
Mourners are seen embracing as they arrive Thursday for Senior Constable Kelly Foster’s police funeral
Family of Senior Constable Kelly Foster is seen in front of her casket for the emotionally charged funeral at Lithgow Uniting Church
Fellow police officers carried her coffin draped with an Australian flag into the church.
In order for members of the public to pay their respects, a funeral procession and marching escort then traveled along one of the city’s main roads.
Snr Cst Foster had been with the police force since 2010 and was highly regarded.
She was first stationed in Newtown in inner-west Sydney and most recently worked at Lithgow Police Station.
Senior Constable Foster had traveled to Wollangambe Canyon that day with her longtime partner – who posted about the trip on Strava, a popular social media app.
The couple cared about their shared love of adventure and regularly went hiking, camping and mountain biking across Australia.
The police officer’s family, friends and colleagues gathered at Lithgow Uniting Church on Thursday afternoon for her funeral
The Blue Mountains, where Mr. Morom grew up, was a regular visit for the couple in 2020, with his 4WD camping or day trips during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Senior Constable Foster has only recently returned to the NSW Police Department after overcoming breast cancer.
The heroic policewoman didn’t hesitate before diving in to try to save the woman from the raging waters, while other witnesses then threw a rope into the creek in an attempt to save her.
Acting Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon said she always “put the needs of others above hers.”
A column of police motorcycles arrives at the officer’s funeral at Lithgow Uniting Church Thursday afternoon – almost two weeks after her tragic death
Mr Morom (right) had posted on Saturday about his trek with Senior Constable Foster (left) on Adventurers’ social media app Strava. The policewoman only recently returned to work after surviving breast cancer
“It is a very sad time for the NSW Police Department and Kelly’s death is a loss to the entire community,” Acting Commissioner Lanyon said in a statement.
Hearing reports that Kelly was trying to help another woman when she died shows her dedication to the community she served and the ability to put the needs of others above hers.
Kelly was a highly regarded and dedicated officer who will be sorely missed by colleagues in the force.
Her police career was put on hold when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but her strength to survive and return to work is another testament to her strength and resilience.
An international student, 24, found herself in a group swimming on inflatable lilos in the popular Wollangambe Canyon (pictured) when she was sucked into the whirlpool. Her body was found on Sunday, along with that of Senior Constable Foster
“Above all, Kelly was a kind and loving daughter, sister and partner.”
The international student was in a group that was swimming in the picturesque spot when she was dragged into the water.
Police and ambulance personnel rushed to the crime scene around 2:30 PM, but the pair got lost below the surface.
The search for their bodies was resumed on Sunday morning, after it was suspended around 6 p.m. Saturday due to bad weather.
Members of Senior Constable Foster’s family came to the canyon to view the search in the desperate hope that she would be found alive.
A fellow policewoman who joined the police force along with Senior Constable Foster remembered her as a “selfless and compassionate” person.
Emergency services rushed to the crime scene after the alarm went off at around 2:30 PM on Saturday, but bad weather forced a house search to be called off around 6:00 PM. When it resumed on Sunday, the bodies of the two women were located by divers from the NSW Police Department
Eight other members of the group that the international student was in were unharmed
It is believed that both women were canyoning in water that can only be reached after hours of walking through rough terrain
‘RIP my old Academy buddy. Always a selfless and compassionate person. You are now remembered as a hero. I will cherish the memories of our good times in Goulburn, ‘wrote a former colleague.
The gorge is believed to have been flooded as a result of recent heavy rainfall.
The other members of the group were unharmed and assisted by police officers and paramedics.
A report is being prepared for the coroner.