19-year-old Carl Salomon capped off an evening of drinking by taking a swim in the Sydney Harbour early Thursday morning. However, an innocent drunken endeavour quickly turned into tragedy as the university student jumped the fence into construction site, climbed a 30-metre crane and then plunged to his death.
Upon hearing the splash, Salomon’s friend called out and looked for his mate for ten minutes before seeking help. Police divers found the former Newington College student’s body at 9am, confirming the fears of distressed family and friends who had gathered around the barge.
Inspector Barrell said it is believed alcohol played a role in the tragedy.
“It appears that skylarking with alcohol involved has led to the death of a 19-year-old. A death that could have been avoided,” he said yesterday.
Friends described Salomon as a “top bloke”, who was known for his “warm smile” and being “the life of the party.”
Another friend, James Smith, said: “He got along with a lot of people, so we’ll always be there for him.”
Newington College principal David Mulford said the loss of such a “fine man” would be “felt widely and with deepest sadness.”
“All who knew Carl, as a leader and young man of great potential will feel his loss profoundly,” Mr Mulford said.
Salomon was studying law at the University of Sydney and had just recently got a job as a model and waiter.
This tragic event arouses the question of drunken antics amongst young people. While this event could have been easily avoided, as Inspector Barrell noted, exactly what steps could have been taken to avoid it remain unclear. Is this a rare and isolated incident of one young reckless man? Or does it indicate a deeper issue of Australian drinking culture?
Most people have made poor decisions or engaged in reckless activities while young and intoxicated. But it is a very fine line between something fun and stupid and something potentially lethal. Rather than attempting to prohibit young people from drinking alcohol and engaging in such activities, there should be better systems in place to educate and warn youth of the dangers of drinking and the teach them best ways to minimise risk or harm when intoxicated.
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