Hiker thanks res­cuers for Bluff ef­fort

Great Southern Herald - - News - Gareth Thomas

A Mt Barker man has ex­pressed his grat­i­tude to res­cue crews and his hik­ing team after he fell ill 600m from the top of Bluff Knoll and had to be air­lifted to Al­bany Hospi­tal.

Ross Gan­der­ton, 71, had trained for months be­fore he tried to cross the 1099m peak from his bucket list.

The trek was pro­gress­ing as planned on Satur­day, May 6 un­til Mr Gan­der­ton ap­proached the sum­mit.

He be­came very weak and non­re­spon­sive and his hik­ing party took im­me­di­ate ac­tion.

Within min­utes, paramedics, the State Emer­gency Ser­vice and the RAC Res­cue He­li­copter were on their way to as­sist.

Mr Gan­der­ton said he never knew how many peo­ple were in­volved in an emer­gency res­cue sit­u­a­tion like his and he was grate­ful to all in­volved. “The paramedics and SES were climb­ing up Bluff Knoll to help me, I think they were run­ning up,” he said.

“The he­li­copter couldn’t get to me, (and) I had to move up to a plateau where the res­cue chopper could then pick me (up).”

Mr Gan­der­ton said the chopper was un­able to land and had to hover above the peak as he was winched to safety. The res­cue chopper trans­ferred Mr Gan­der­ton to Al­bany Hospi­tal for as­sess­ment, where doc­tors thought he may have suf­fered a stroke.

After a se­ries of tests, doc­tors were un­able to find any­thing wrong with Mr Gan­der­ton and he was able to travel back to Mt Barker to rest.

Mr Gan­der­ton said he was still pleased with his ad­ven­ture up Bluff Knoll but ad­mit­ted he had no plans for an­other at­tempt at the sum­mit.

Pictures: Ross Gan­der­ton

Ross Gan­der­ton is winched to safety by the res­cue he­li­copter. The res­cue he­li­copter ap­proaches. The res­cue per­son­nel dis­cuss how to get Mr Gan­der­ton to safety. Mr Gan­der­ton awaits res­cue crews after fall­ing ill dur­ing a hike up Bluff Knoll.

The res­cue he­li­copter hov­er­ing above Bluff Knoll.

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