The mother-of-two who tragically fell to her death on Mother’s Day from a scenic waterfall has been named as Cairns woman Milada Zak.
The 58-year-old was in the company of her children and one of their partners at Windin Falls near Cairns, Far North Queensland, at about 1pm on Sunday when it’s believed she slipped and was knocked unconscious, before the rushing water washed her across the edge and down the 50m drop.
Her friend Zoe Nielsen posted a tribute to Ms Zak on Facebook which read: ‘At home, a candle burning, staring into the void, in total disbelief. My heart is filled with so much sadness… so lost for words.
Milada Zak is the mother of two named as the woman who fell from Windin Falls on Mother’s Day
Ms Zak’s (right) friend Zoe Nielsen (left) posted a heartfelt tribute to her friend on Facebook
‘Rest in peace my dear, beautiful friend Milada.’
Another friend, Elisabeth Hussey, wrote: ‘One of the most beautiful and kindest souls I’ve ever met. She was an amazing mother, friend and local who is loved and missed by so, so many.’
On one photo a friend describes Ms Zak as ‘the earth mother’.
Ms Zak’s own account reveals she was a regular visitor to the region’s densely forested parks.
In one shot she is pictured at what she described as her favourite spot, Behana Gorge, south of Cairns, where she would often walk her two dogs.
Ms Zak pictured at one of her favourite spots, Bethana Gorge south of Cairns, Queensland
Ms Zak pictured with her dogs in the Far North Queensland environment she loved
Recent heavy rain in Far North Queensland has raised questions as to whether the popular spot, with its natural infinity pool, should have been open to hikers.
The hashtag #windinfalls on Instagram reveals many visitors perched dangerously on the rocks at the edge of the falls in the quest for the perfect selfie.
Cairns Police have taken possession of a video of the incident which they are currently reviewing.
On Sunday witness Blake Thomas told Daily Mail Australia that he saw Ms Zak’s limp body getting knocked around in the whitewater.
‘She was in a pool, getting pushed back and forth … the water was like rapids. It took her and threw her off the cliff,’ the 25-year-old said.
Milada Zak, 58 was believed to be crossing Windin Falls in Cairns, Far North Queensland, at about 1pm on Sunday when she slipped and was washed down the falls
Mr Thomas said Ms Zak, who was at the tourist hotspot with her two children and her daughter’s boyfriend, fell for a few seconds before she hit the water below.
‘I saw her floating ages away at the end and watched the rescue helicopter retrieve her. Very eerie,’ he said.
A fellow walker called police but it took a rescue helicopter, officers on foot and a drones three hours to find her body at 4pm.
Mr Thomas said Ms Zak was not trying to get in the pool when she slipped because the water was so rough after days of torrential rain.
Horrified onlookers blocked the entrance to the pool to ensure others hoping to catch a glimpse of the picturesque site didn’t interfere with the rescue operation.
The 90-minute trek to the waterfall is only accessible through the Old Cairns Track in the Wooroonooran National Park.
Mr Thomas said there needs to be more warnings at the site, ‘or at least a safety rope or bars’. Windin Falls pictured
A witness who saw her fall from the cliff said the water in the infinite pool was rough on Sunday (stock image)
‘Exercise extreme caution and stay back from the edges,’ the Tourism Tropical North Queensland website warns.
‘There is a natural infinity pool at the top of the falls that drops deep into the valley below.’
Mr Thomas said there needs to be more warnings at the site ‘or at least a safety rope or bars’.
A report will be prepared for the Coroner.