Selfie-taking tourists fall from cliff to their deaths in Portugal town

The pair died after falling from the cliff top at Pescadores Beach in Ericeira Portugal

The captain of the port of Cascais, 30 kilometres west of Lisbon, said he believed the couple fell while trying to take a selfie.

"It seems that (the victims) might be getting a "selfie", when they let the phone fall, leaned over to grab it and fell", he was quoted as saying.

Fishermen in the area thought the pair was simply sleeping on the beach but discovered a "horror scene" when they approached, describing the couple's bodies as "shattered" to local paper Journal de Noticias.

Kearns, a fly-in, fly-out worker and recreational diver, had left Australia in January on vacation with Benson, and attended a friend's wedding in Portugal in recent weeks, according to his mother.

Police say they believe the couple lost their balance and fell off the wall at some time between 1am and 6am on Tuesday.

Previous reports suggested they were an Australian couple, but the Department of Foreign Affairs told SBS News it was providing assistance to the family of one Australian who died in Portugal.

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"Everything seems to indicate that the fall happened when they were probably trying to take a selfie", the head of the local rescue service, Rui Pereira da Terra, told AFP.

Praia dos Pescadores, or Fishermans Beach, is surrounded by cliffs and a 40-metre high wall.

Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office added: "We are in touch with local authorities following the death of a British woman in Portugal and are providing support to her family". "Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment", a DFAT spokesperson said.

The beach is at a surfing town on Portugal's western Atlantic Ocean coast.

The Australian Embassy in Lisbon has also been informed of the death.

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