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French student dies in cliff fall on outskirts of Sydney

SYDNEY--A young Frenchman has fallen to his death at a national park on the outskirts of Sydney, police confirmed Monday.

New South Wales police did not name the man, but the University of Wollongong said he was visiting research student, 23-year-old Fabien Ardoin.

“We can confirm that Interpol has emailed us to say that the family has been told,” a police spokeswoman told AFP, adding the deceased was from France.

Authorities were called out on Sunday after reports the man fell about 40 meters (132 feet) from a cliff ledge north of Little Marley Beach in the Royal National Park south of Sydney.

“It is believed he was with a group of seven other walkers at the time of the incident; however the exact circumstances remain unclear,” police said in a statement.

Some reports said Ardoin fell when the sandstone cliff he was standing on, which was away from the marked walking path, collapsed underneath him. Others said he lost his grip while hanging from the ledge.

Police said they were still putting together what happened, and that whether Ardoin was taking a photograph at the time of the incident was one line of inquiry.

Ardoin, who described himself on social media as a model, was reportedly with his girlfriend and other friends at the time of the accident.

The body was recovered late on Sunday after officers abseiled down the cliff face. A report will be prepared for the coroner.

The University of Wollongong saying it was saddened to hear of the death of Ardoin, who was a student at its Sustainable Buildings Research Centre.

“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,” center director Paul Cooper said in a statement.

“We will miss him enormously. Our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences go out to Fabien's family and friends.”

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