Rescue drives road warning
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.