(SKY NEWS) – A British woman and her Australian partner have fallen to their deaths while taking a selfie on a wall at a beach in Portugal, according to reports.
Louise Benson and Michael Kearns died on the Praia dos Pescadores near Ericeira on the country’s west coast.
The head of the rescue service at Cascais port near Lisbon, Rui Pereira da Terra, told the Lusa news agency that it was suspected that the couple had been taking a selfie on a wall above the beach.
He said: “Everything seems to indicate that the fall happened when they were probably trying to take a selfie.
“Since we found a mobile phone on the wall, everything suggests the victims might have been taking a selfie, when they allowed the phone to fall, leaned to grab it and fell.”
Friends have paid tribute to the couple on social media.
Liz Catchpole wrote on Facebook: “No words can describe what we have lost. Louise Benson you had a passion for life. Your smiles infectious, your laughs amazing, your friendship invaluable and just the love you have out.
“In shock and speechless. You will be missed and I will miss you so much. Love you Lou, one in a million. Lou&Mike 4ever.”
Tina Dorant wrote: “My fellow ocean warrior. You are an amazing person and will be missed. I can’t believe it still and my heart goes out to your family and friends. RIP Louise Benson. Condolences to your family. I’m shocked and saddened.”
One Portuguese newspaper reported that fishermen discovered the couple’s bodies at about 6.30am.
The Jornal de Noticias reported: “At first the fishermen thought the bodies, from far away, might be people sleeping on the beach.
“Only when they got closer did they realise it was a dead couple and they were shocked by what they saw.”
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: “We are in touch with local authorities following the death of a British woman in Portugal and are providing support to her family.”
The spokesperson did not confirm the nature of the incident or say how the woman died.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia said it was providing consular assistance to the family of the Australian national who died.
It said in a statement: “The department has been in contact with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding the other person who died in the incident.”
The beach, a popular surfing spot 18 miles from the Portuguese capital, is surrounded by cliffs and a 131ft wall.