Hero police officer Kelly Foster farewelled after Blue Mountains whirlpool death - ABC News

 proxy.yoo.workers.dev  01/14/2021 02:30:33 

Mourners have lined the streets of Lithgow, New South Wales, to bid farewell to "highly regarded and dedicated" police officer Kelly Foster.

  • Senior Constable Kelly Foster died after she was sucked into a whirlpool while canyoning in the NSW Blue Mountains
  • It is believed she was attempting to save a 24-year-old international student, who also drowned
  • Mourners have lined the streets of Lithgow, where she was stationed, to pay their respects at her funeral today

The 39-year-old senior constable and a 24-year-old Chinese student died at Wollangambe Canyon, near Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains, on January 2.

The two women were part of a canyoning tour group on the Wollangambe River.

Witnesses said Jennifer Qi was tipped off an inflatable Lilo into a whirlpool and that Senior Constable Foster was swept in when she attempted to rescue her.

Senior Constable Foster's family embraced as the hearse, flanked by officers on motorbikes, arrived at Lithgow's Uniting Church today.

A female police officer in uniform.
Senior Constable Foster worked in Sydney and as part of the State Crime Command before she was stationed at Lithgow in 2020.(Supplied: NSW Police)

Tearful police carried her casket into the church draped in an Australian flag.

Other officers followed, carrying her medals.

Senior Constable Foster's family remembered her as a loyal, protective and caring sister who always wanted to be a police officer.

Mourners today heard about her love of fashion, the outdoors, and her cat, Dusty.

Her father, Terry, said he could not imagine life without her, while her sister, Leigh, remembered Senior Constable Foster as "one of a kind".

She also paid tribute to Ms Qi, a graduate of the University of Sydney.

"Our hearts go out to Jenny's family and friends who are also grieving at this time," she said.

Police officers carry a casket draped with an Australian flag.
Senior Constable Foster always wanted to be a police officer, her family said.(ABC Central West: Luke Wong)

'Heroism, bravery, sacrifice'

The valedictory speech was delivered by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, who announced Senior Constable Foster had been posthumously awarded the Commissioners Valour Award for her "heroism, exceptional bravery and sacrifice".

He also confirmed the awarding of the National Police Service Medal, the National Medal, the NSW Police Medal and a Commissioner's Unit Citation in recognition of her involvement in the response to the Lindt Cafe Siege.

In a statement issued shortly after her death, NSW Police Acting Commissioner Mal Lanyon said Senior Constable Foster was a "highly regarded and dedicated officer who will be sorely missed by colleagues across the force".

"Her policing career was put on hold when she was diagnosed with breast cancer," he said.

"However, her strength to survive this and return to work is another testament to her strength and resilience," he said.

An aerial view of a canyon.
Police say the women were swept into a whirlpool in the Wollangambe River while canyoning.(ABC News)

The NSW Minister for Emergency Services David Elliot was among the funeral's attendees.

Public spaces around Lithgow have been decorated with blue balloons and streamers in Senior Constable Foster's honour.


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