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LDS missionary from West Haven dies after fall from cliff in Australia

Monday , July 23, 2018 - 11:52 AM

A Mormon missionary from West Haven fell to his death Monday while sightseeing in Australia.

Gavin Paul Zimmerman, 19, had been serving in the Australia Sydney Mission since Aug. 16 2017, according to Daniel Woodruff, spokesman with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

He and a group of missionaries were at a popular whale-watching area Monday in southern Sydney when he slipped and fell from a cliff, the church said in a statement. 

Zimmerman appears to have slipped while making his way down the rocks at Cape Solander, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. He was treated at the scene but couldn’t be revived. 

Another man died in June after falling while taking photos in the same area, The Herald reported. The cape is considered one of Sydney’s best whale-watching spots. 

Zimmerman grew up in Roy and West Haven, and was a graduate of Fremont High School where he played football and ran track. 

“Gavin served in several leadership positions in the mission field. He was a great example to us all, and he loved his mission very much,” his parents Raymond and Jeanette Zimmerman said in a statement. “Gavin was a bright light in our lives! We are so grateful for our Father in Heaven’s plan of salvation. We know that we will be with him again one day. Our family will miss him greatly until we meet again.”

Woodruff said the church’s “sincerest condolences and prayers are with Elder Zimmerman’s family and loves ones as they remember his life and mourn his passing.”

Reach digital producer Jessica Kokesh at 801-625-4229 or You can also follow her on Twitter at @JessicaKokesh or

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