Teenager turns into life­saver

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

A Pil­bara teenager and her mother’s newly ac­quired life­sav­ing skills helped save her fa­ther’s life dur­ing an Easter camp­ing trip gone wrong.

Point Sam­son res­i­dent Chloe Ling, 13, and mother Dee El­lard com­pleted their surf res­cue cer­tifi­cate and bronze medal­lion cour­ses with Port Wal­cott Surf Life Sav­ing Club in March.

It never crossed Chloe’s mind those skills would be put to use so soon to save the life of her fa­ther.

Chloe, her two sis­ters and her mother had gone off ex­plor­ing the river while her fa­ther, Ben Ling, set up camp on the Deep­dale line.

Half an hour later they came back to find Mr Ling ly­ing in the re­cov­ery po­si­tion on a rock on the op­po­site side of the river.

Mr Ling had had an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion and gone into ana­phy­lac­tic shock, leav­ing him strug­gling to breathe and un­able to see on the river’s edge.

Chloe said her train­ing held her in good stead in the high-pres­sure sit­u­a­tion.

“My first thoughts were ‘oh my God has he hit his head? Is he dead? Is he alive?’ she said.

“The train­ing taught me to not show I was pan­ick­ing, which was re­ally hard, as well as ways to com­mu­ni­cate to get him to talk to me to help keep him awake.

“On the way out I just didn’t want him to die be­cause when we were driv­ing he was re­ally un­com­fort­able, his head was mov­ing from side to side and he said he couldn’t see.”

Ms El­lard said the sit­u­a­tion was fur­ther com­pli­cated by be­ing camped down a rugged four-wheeldrive track with no phone re­cep­tion.

Luck­ily, the fam­ily were well pre­pared and man­aged to get hold

of a work col­league on a satel­lite phone to call an am­bu­lance.

“The hard­est thing for me was think­ing how we would get him to the other side of the river,” Ms El­lard said.

“We just asked him to lay on his back in the wa­ter while I towed him and Chloe helped push him along.

“From there, we grabbed all our stuff, got him in the ute af­ter he fainted, and tried as best as we could to get out of there to meet the am­bos on the road.”

St John Am­bu­lance Kar­ratha para­medic David Joseph said Mr Ling was taken to hospi­tal as a pri­or­ity.

Mr Joseph said the pa­tient’s blood pres­sure was “dras­ti­cally low” when the am­bu­lance reached the fam­ily.

“To keep him awake and not let him lapse into un­con­scious­ness is re­ally some­thing,” he said.

“Out where he was, potentially it could have been a whole lot worse for him, so the fam­ily have done well.

“The fact his daugh­ter knew first-aid and was able to do some­thing at the time, I’m sure he will be thank­ing her for a long time.”

Mr Joseph said first-aid cour­ses were avail­able at lo­cal sub cen­tres for all ages.

De­spite her hero­ics, Chloe said she had not been given a re­prieve from house­hold chores.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Chloe Ling, 13, and her mother Dee El­lard.

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