Horror end to dream holiday with best mates
COREY Ring was deep in a dream holiday with his best mates and taking in some of Australia's most secluded beaches before it all came to a crushing end on Saturday.
The popular 25-year-old surfer spent his final weeks riding waves, camping and fishing with his friends Baxter Woodger, and his girlfriend Tahlee De Clouett on an incredible trip along Australia's idyllic west coast.
Sun-soaked Instagram pictures over the past few weeks show the trio setting up camp on white-sand beaches, posing with people they met along the way and smiling as they sipped on drinks with some of Australia's most stunning scenery in the background.
"Had an epic four weeks at the most amazing place," wrote Ms De Clouett on an Instagram post last month which showed them camping and meeting friends at a secluded beach.
"Cheers to all the legends we've met along the way."
However, the trip of a lifetime for the trio from Wollongong came to an abrupt end early on Saturday morning when their four-wheel-drive plunged 20 metres over a cliff in Lyndon, about 15 kilometres south of Warroora Station in Western Australia.
Ms De Clouett and Mr Woodger made a miraculous escape - suffering suspected neck and spinal injuries.
They were flown to Royal Perth Hospital, where they remain in a serious but stable condition. However, Mr Ring suffered fatal injuries.
Horrific images released by WA Police show the crumpled white Toyota LandCruiser being lapped by the ocean's waves as it sits caved in on a rock shelf.
Mr Ring moved to Western Australia from his home in Wollongong about a year ago to work at a goldmine.
His family told the Illawarra Mercury he was on a weeks-long break when he decided to join his friends, who left the northern Illawarra in a caravan bound for Western Australia in June.
Mr Ring's grandfather Norm told the newspaper his grandson was out in Western Australia doing what he loved most.
"He was enjoying himself, he was having a ball. Everyone's very supportive of what he was doing," said Mr Ring.
He described his grandson as "a knockabout kid" who "liked everything", including surfing and playing football.
"We hold no grudges against (Mr Woodger who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash)," he said. "They were just good mates having a good time and this has happened."
The tragedy struck was just hours after Ms De Clouett marked her 21st birthday on Friday. Her boyfriend posted a picture of her on Instagram that day, smiling with alongside a small dog and the four-wheel-drive they were holidaying in.
In a media statement, her father Christian De Clouett said his family had been devastated by the news.
However, he believed both his daughter and her boyfriend were expected to make a full recovery.
"Our family has been shattered by this event - and we are devastated by the death and our thoughts are with the family at this terrible time for us all," he said.
"While my daughter and her boyfriend have suffered some serious injuries, they are expected to fully recuperate - they will leave hospital and return home to the Illawarra in due course and on the advice of doctors.
"As could be imagined, this is a very difficult time for our family, we are very appreciative of the kind support that has been extended to us all, especially from all the community in the northern suburbs and we would like to thank everybody for their kind words and best wishes."