Tourist, 21, Dies While Taking Selfie Atop Cliff in Australia: She 'Saw the Best in People'

Defending her daughter, Rebecca Smith wrote that Madalyn Davis "was not self-obsessed," but rather "a wonderful, beautiful person" who "made a mistake"

Madalyn Davis
Photo: GoFundMe

A 21-year-old tourist from England died over the weekend when she fell off a cliff in Australia while taking a selfie, according to the BBC.

The body of Madalyn Davis — who was known for her makeup tutorials online — was reportedly found in the waters of Sydney’s Diamond Bay Reserve on Sunday, some four hours after she was reported missing. According to, Davis and a group of friends went to Diamond Bay to watch the sunrise and take pictures after partying the previous night.

Around 6:30 the next morning, the friends lost sight of Davis as she took pictures atop a cliff, according to They called emergency services soon after.

“A crew from Marine Rescue Middle Harbour is involved in a search for a woman in her early 20s missing from Diamond Bay in Sydney’s east,” Marine Rescue of New South Wales tweeted before Davis’ body was recovered. “Emergency services were alerted after a group of people taking photos inside the fence early this morning regathered & could not find the woman.”

Davis is originally from Lincolnshire, England, and had been in Australia for a number of weeks, the BBC reported.

“Madalyn was a much-liked, popular and well-respected member of the academy community, with many of our staff team recalling her time at Retford Oaks fondly,” Heather Widdup, principal of Davis’ former school, Retford Oaks Academy, told the outlet. “Madalyn joined the academy in the latter stages of her secondary education, had a keen interest in and an obvious talent for art and design, and had done well in her [General Certificate of Secondary Education classes].”

There are reportedly signs in the area warning people to stay away from the edge of the cliff. Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos told the BBC that the city has already increased the height of fences in the area and added additional warning signs in other languages.

According to her family, Davis’ Instagram feed — which has since been made private — was bombarded with distasteful comments from online trolls in the hours after her death.

“My daughter was not self-obsessed she was a wonderful beautiful person that made a mistake,” Davis’ mother, Rebecca Smith, wrote on social media in defense of her daughter, according to a screenshot taken by

In a statement posted by relative Anastasia Davis on Facebook, the family revealed they plan to campaign for social media companies and the government to do more about online harassment.

“Madalyn’s brother, sister and cousins are so hurt by the hateful trolls and online bullying following our daughters passing, that they wish to lobby government and social media companies to take this issue more seriously and to deal with issues more promptly and effectively,” the announcement read.

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In their emotional statement, the family said Davis was someone who “saw the best in people.” The family hopes to turn their loss into something positive, they added.

“She believed in universal oneness, the fundamental belief that she couldn’t hurt another human being, as to do so she would hurt herself,” they said.

“This caused a lot of pain in her life, as a lot of people don’t believe in this sentiment and therefore this left her venerable to abuse, resentment and manipulation,” the statement continued. “Despite this, Maddie still faced every day with optimism and a smile on her face. She was determined to find the better place that she hoped the world could be.”

A GoFundMe has been started to raise funds for the family and has raised over $1,600.

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