The death of a talented student who suffered a fatal injuries while posing for photos at WWII bunkers in Sydney will be the subject of a coronial inquest, with mystery still surrounding her final moments.
Annika Ferry and her best friend Bec Bennett had trekked to the rundown bunkers at North Head early on Wednesday morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of the sunrise.
But tragedy struck while the pair posed for photos at the isolated selfie spot.
Heartbreaking final pictures from the scene show Ms Ferry, 21, smiling as she clings to the top of the concrete bunker. Just moments later Ms Bennett would desperately try to perform CPR on her friend, before calling Triple Zero and sitting with her body.
NSW Police investigating the tragedy have struggled to determine whether Ms Ferry died when she slipped or sustained fatal injuries from the impact of the structure collapsing on top of her.
With her family desperate for answers, the tragedy has now been handed over to the NSW state coroner.
The investigation into the tragic death of Anika Ferry (left, with her friend Bec Bennett) will be investigated by the coroner, with police struggling to determine whether she fell to her death, or if a piece of concrete on a WWII bunker she was holding onto gave way and hit her
Tragic photos show the engineering student, 21, posing in front of a sunrise just moments before she fell to her death
In a freak accident, Ms Ferry, 21, (pictured) grabbed onto the roof of the concrete bunker when part of the structure collapsed, hitting her on the head and killing her, before falling two metres onto rocks
Ms Ferry’s heartbroken family have released eerie photos showing her posing for photos in front of the stunning sunrise, taken by Ms Bennett, just moments before she died
Ms Ferry’s heartbroken family released eerie photos showing her posing for photos in front of the stunning sunrise, taken by Ms Bennett, just moments before she died.
Her father Jim Ferry said the photos of his daughter, who was studying renewable energy engineering the University of NSW, ‘shows people the joy she was feeling’ before tragedy struck.
Dr Ferry, a renowned Manly obstetrician, said the two friends set out at 5.30am to walk through a section of Sydney Harbour National Park.
‘Annika wasn’t doing anything stupid. She was being her adventurous and joyful self. Annika loved sunrises,’ he told the Manly Daily.
‘I wanted people to see the photographs of Annika at North Head to show the joy she was feeling watching that beautiful sunrise.’
Dr Ferry said his daughter, a former student at the Queenwood School at Mosman, was an avid traveller who had a passion for the environment.
‘She was into climbing and running. She played a lot of tennis. She played soccer. She just loved life. Light sparkled from her,’ he said.
Annika Ferry (left) and Bec Bennett’s (right) were on a hike to the World War II bunkers at North Head in Sydney when tragedy struck, with Ms Ferry killed after part of the bunker collapsed
Police said Ms Bennett tried unsuccessfully to revive her friend, before calling Triple Zero. But the efforts of emergency services to reach Ms Ferry were made difficult by the rough terrain through which they had to trek
The remote location of the bunkers, nestled among dense bush, meant the Westpac rescue helicopter was required to assist. Nine News reported Ms Ferry was clinging onto the bunker roof before it collapsed on top of her.
Tributes flowed in the wake of the tragedy, with Annika’s family well known among the northern beaches community.
‘Absolutely devastated to hear this news. Annika was the kindest, smartest and most beautiful soul I have ever met,’ friend Lisa Taylor wrote.
‘My heart goes out to your family with the tragic loss of Annika who was such a cheerful and delightful girl who enjoyed life,’ another friend wrote.
Annika’s gym Tone Athletica said they were: ‘Devastated by this tragic news of one of our Tribe. She was a shining light in our little community and we loved her for it. We’ll desperately miss her and she’ll forever be in our hearts.’
Ms Ferry was a Dean’s Honour List recipient at the University of New South Wales in 2019, where she was studying renewable energy engineering.
She studied at the prestigious Queenwood School for Girls in Mosman, and had also completed an entrepreneurship program in Scandinavia.
She and Ms Bennett – who represented Australia at the IAAF World Championships in 2019 and hopes to compete at the Olympics one day – had trekked through dense bushland from about 5.30am in a bid to reach a spot popular where sightseers gather to get the perfect sunrise photo.
The friends were outdoor lovers who had documented several of their recent travels on social media.
Annika Ferry fell near a World War Two bunker in Blue Fish Point, in Sydney’s North Head around 6am on Wednesday
An Instagram post by Ms Bennett shows her and Ms Ferry on another adventure, this time to a remote beach. The two best friends had also done overseas travelling together in recent years
Ms Ferry’s family was well known among the northern beaches community, with her father Dr James Gerry a renowned obstetrician. Annika is pictured with her father and brothers Anton (left) and Christian (right)
Ms Ferry (pictured with her dad) had been studying engineering at the University of New South Wales after graduating from Queenwood School for Girls in Mosman. She had visited Antarctica with her father last year
Paramedics trekked hundreds of metres through the bush to reach Ms Ferry, but by the time they arrived, it was too late to save her.
Harrowing footage from the scene showed a distraught Ms Bennett clutching onto paramedics as she was taken to hospital, where she was treated for shock.
NSW Police acting inspector Stuart Byrnes said an investigation had been launched in a bid to find answers about Ms Ferry’s death.
He admitted detectives were still gathering the facts about the fall, but described the death as a ‘very sad accident’.
‘There was only two people there, and one of them has gone to hospital in shock, we’re still trying to get to the bottom to the lead-up of it all,’ he told reporters.
‘We believe it was a very sad accident and our thoughts go out to the family, but it’s the subject of an investigation at the moment.’
Harrowing footage from the scene showed a distraught Ms Bennett clutching onto paramedics before being taken to hospital where she was treated for shock
Northern Beaches acting inspector Stuart Byrnes said the ‘inhospitable’ terrain around the North Head area had made it difficult for police to reach Ms Ferry and Ms Bennett
Acting Inspector Byrnes described the terrain at North Head as ‘inhospitable’, which he said had delayed Wednesday’s operation.
‘It’s not easily accessible, it was extremely difficult,’ he said. ‘We’ve had to use helicopters as part of the operation.’
An employee at North Head agreed, telling Sydney Morning Herald the terrain was difficult to manage on the best of days.
He said he often gets stopped and asked for directions to the nearby tidal pools – which are frequented by adventurers looking for a selfie – and that he warns them of the risks.
‘I always tell them how to get there, but I tell them not to go. It’s very dangerous,’ he said.
Police continue to investigate the lead up to Ms Ferry’s death and a report is being prepared for the coroner.