The family of Melbourne exchange student Kristi Kafcaloudis, who died at a popular tourist spot in Norway, says she was not taking a selfie when she fell 300 metres to her death.
Ms Kafcaloudis, 24, a Monash University student originally from Yandina in Queensland, was in Norway on exchange at the University of Bergen.
She was walking in the mountains of Hordaland County with a group of 30 people to Trolltunga, which means “Troll’s Tongue” in English, when she fell.
“It was an accident. She was nowhere near the end of the rock – and not taking a selfie,” mother Milli Kafcaloudis said in a statement.
“Apparently there were a lot of people on the rock that weekend, and Kristi was waiting about two metres out on the rock to come back to rejoin her two friends who were walking ahead.”
Trollstunga is described by the country’s official tourism information site as “one of the most spectacular scenic cliffs in Norway”.
Ms Kafkaloudis said her daughter was trying to walk around a group of tourists who were taking photos at the site.
“Because other people were posing for a photo being taken, she waited to get past and walked on a little side track to get around them … but the rocks were loose and she lost her balance and fell,” she said.
“There were two witnesses who were taking photos that saw what happened as they were actually facing the scene … police have been investigating and gathering all these statements.”
Family ‘overwhelmed’, waiting for Kristi’s body to return
Ms Kafkaloudis said local police were told her daughter had not cried out when she fell.
“According to the police officer I spoke to, who had been on the search that evening, screams were heard when she fell but they were not from Kristi, but from her friend who turned around to find her missing,” she said.
The family have been told that it could be up to 10 days before Kristi Kafkaloudis’ body would be returned to Australia.
“At this stage the authorities are still completing their work in Norway and we are waiting on the final reports of that investigation,” she said.
“No-one is sure of the exact time and it will be, perhaps a week to 10 days before Kristi is returned … but that is only guesswork at this stage.”
Her mother said the family were devastated by their loss and asked for privacy.
“The whole family is in fragile health and extremely stressed so I would beg for privacy and time to gather our strength for the ordeal ahead,” she said.
“We are overwhelmed with the love and support shown to us and to Kristi, who it seems, touched everyone’s heart wherever she went.”