An otherwise harmless Australia Day prank went horribly wrong when a man fell to his death after climbing a crane.
Emergency services were called to a construction site on Bower Street in Manly at 00:30 on January 27 after witnesses reported that a man had been injured.
Reports indicate that the victim – believed to be a Swedish man in his 20s – had been celebrating Australia Day with a group of around 30 when he decided to climb the crane.
As the main gate was locked, the man and his fellow revellers entered the private property by scaling the back fence before tackling the industrial structure.
Witnesses told the Daily Telegraph on January 27 that they had seen a number of people climbing up the crane in recent times and had feared for their safety.
One asserted: "There was a kid about 15:00 yesterday … he climbed to the controller's box on the crane.
"They were teenagers doing what teenagers do."
However, the 20-year-old man was climbing the structure in the dark, with witnesses recalling being able to track his progress only due to the fact that he was smoking at the time.
"He had a cigarette so we could see the ember as he climbed up," said one witness.
After successfully navigating his way up the central shaft, the group had made their way to the back end of the structure near the counterweight.
Once he had ventured to the end of the structure, the 20-year-old began to traverse his way along the load-bearing arm.
However, the front of the crane was not meant for public access and as such was not fitted with a mesh walkway.
This meant that the group were effectively suspended 45 metres from the ground without a safety net or any form of personal protection.
As a result, when he somehow lost his footing, the victim fell straight to the ground, suffering serious injuries on impact.
Police say that the man was found deceased at the scene despite the attentions from the individuals present.
While the Civil Liabilities Act 2002 requires that safety precautions are taken, it could be said that the use of a security fence – complete with padlock and chain – were enough for a "reasonable person" to understand that they were not to enter a property without direct permission and supervision.
Subsequently, any injuries that they sustain – while regrettable – are not the fault of the owner or operator and they would most likely not be able use a no win no fee or personal injury lawyer to gain compensation.