Rescue drives road warn­ing

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

The rescue of two men stranded in flood­wa­ters in the Kim­ber­ley on Satur­day has prompted emer­gency ser­vices to re­mind North West driv­ers of the dan­gers of driv­ing on re­mote roads af­ter heavy rain.

The pair, aged 26 and 42, were work­ing at com­mu­ni­ties on the Gibb River Road in the Kim­ber­ley when they were stranded in a re­mote lo­ca­tion about 15km west of the Yu­lumbu Com­mu­nity.

Their em­ployer re­ceived dis­tress alerts via email about 9am on Satur­day and a land and sea search was started to rescue them.

The men, who work in the area as pest con­trollers, were found hours later about 15km west of the Yu­lumbu Com­mu­nity

Po­lice said rains had cut off roads so the men could not be reached on land.

A po­lice spokesman said the men’s ex­pe­ri­ence showed the per­ils of trav­el­ling in such con­di­tions but com­mended the pair for hav­ing “a GPS-based emer­gency alert sys­tem pro­vided by their em­ployer which made lo­cat­ing them faster”.

De­part­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices West Pil­bara District Of­fi­cer Paul Leiper said the Kim­ber­ley rescue was a good re­minder to Pil­bara res­i­dents to take care when trav­el­ling in wet weather. “We do get un­sea­sonal rain,” he said.

“We had de­cent falls through the Pil­bara in late May, early June last year. They’re hard to pre­dict, they’re not typ­i­cal, but it does oc­cur ... and they can bring with them heavy rain.”

Mr Leiper said con­trac­tors and the fly-in, fly-out work­force were espe­cially prone to get­ting caught out be­cause they were un­used to re­mote road con­di­tions.

“(They) might work in the area but have never ex­pe­ri­enced those con­di­tions … they get caught out be­cause it’s a nov­elty,” he said.

“Un­der­stand that travel off a bi­tu­men road is dif­fer­ent from any travel that most peo­ple do. That means I need to have a quick look at (the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy) now, 24 hours be­fore and in 24 hours time (of driv­ing) to see if con­di­tions are go­ing to suit.”

Mr Leiper said to stay aware of road con­di­tions in un­sea­sonal weather, espe­cially on un­sealed roads, peo­ple should check the BOM, Main Roads and DFES web­sites, pay­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion to weather con­di­tions from the pre­vi­ous 12 to 24 hours.

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